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The Standard

The fix is in

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 pm, April 9th, 2013 - 47 comments
Categories: john key, Spying - Tags:

So, here’s the play. Key’s been caught asleep at the wheel of our spies. 88 people illegally spied on. Key knew last July, but didn’t act until the Dotcom case brought things out in September. The Nats’ goal is to deflect blame from Key (and spies who could leak against him). So, they’re blaming the law. They want us to believe the law that clearly states the GCSB can’t spy on Kiwis was ‘confusing’.

More specifically, they want us to believe that it wasn’t clear that the GCSB couldn’t spy on Kiwis on behalf of other organisations like the Police and the SIS. That’s bullshit, of course. Any moron could see that. The law says the GCSB can’t spy on Kiwis. It doesn’t say ‘the GCSB can’t spy on Kiwis unless it’s doing it for someone else who asks nicely’.

The guy who wrote the law was the same guy who was GCSB’s legal advisor. There’s simply no way that he could have been confused about the intent of the law even if some mythical wording problems exist (and they don’t, they just fucken don’t – that’s why the Nats haven’t pointed out any).

This ‘it’s the law’s fault’ line is just a way of preventing everyone saying its Key’s fault and the fault of the spies he was meant to be keeping an eye on.

And, talking of Key’s lax oversight, the Minister for Being Asleep at the Wheel said today that the first time he learned that there was a problem with GCSB illegally spying was in July when he old buddy Fletcher told him about it. It’s just not credible that Fletcher wouldn’t have been mentioned the illegal Dotcom spying at this point – the GCSB had already had an internal debate over the spying’s legality and weeks later it would be in court trying to suppress the fact of its involvement in said spying with a unique Ministerial Warrant. Yet Key has always insisted that the first time he became aware of any illegal spying by GCSB, including any spying on Dotcom, was in September.

The difference is vital – not only has Key been lying about when he was in the loop but, if he was involved in July, then he was involved before GCSB had Bill English acting on Key’s behalf sign the one and only Ministerial Warrant ever issued for the GCSB covering up its illegal spying on Dotcom. In other words, Key was involved in the cover-up.

And that explains why Key took that mysterious trip to the US just at the right time so that English would sign the Ministerial Warrant and not Key.

This, all of this, is about trying to keep Brand Key clear of the dirty, shoddy behaviour of Key and his spies.

47 comments on “The fix is in”

  1. BM 1

    More along the lines that Helen Clark did a piss poor job and left the GCSB in a state of utter chaos.
    Must have been too focused trying to score than UN position.

    Thankfully Key’s on to it now and getting it sorted.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Letting the fox run the hen house is not “getting it sorted”.

    • GregJ 1.2

      Rubbish – Key has had 3 (now 4+) years in charge – if there was chaos at GCSB then he was the Minister responsible and failed to given adequate direction and supervision. Basically he is either incompetent or complicit.

      • Pascal's bookie 1.2.1

        And his own story is that GCSB needed a shake up, Matepaere being shuffled down the road now looks suspect, he got his allegedly sterling Fletcher in; and there was still no reporting to the PM of illegal spying for months.

        • GregJ 1.2.1.1

          I kind of wander if the failed Urewera operation and the DotCom saga have led to a belief that domestic surveillance capability has to be “enhanced” (as I noted below NAB’s mandate was extended in 2010 to analysis of domestic intelligence). The illegality of the GCSB part of the DotCom operation seems to have have caught them all of guard but now it provides the perfect opportunity to “re-organize” the NZ Intelligence Community and change legislation. With Tucker’s end of contract at NZSIS this year it provides what in management speak would be “synergy” for a number of changes across the whole intelligence spectrum. National is certainly the party to have in power if you want to increase the capacity for spying on New Zealand citizens.

          • Pascal's bookie 1.2.1.1.1

            Seems clear that the tidying up will be about making legal that which was previously intended to be not.

            But on the bright side. With the clear trend towards political appointments I’m looking forward to the tenure of inspector Hager.

    • the pigman 1.3

      Thankfully Key’s on to it now and getting it sorted.

      *snickers* Baby steps Johnnie boy, baby steps…

    • LOL, I love people who insist on giving ministers more than a year to work on problems that aren’t (or shouldn’t be!) entrenched. Pretty much the only things you can excuse a minister for not fixing up in a year are education, finance, and environment. Spying should not be this hard to manage, and if Key was too busy for it, he should not have taken that portfolio as Prime Minister.

      There’s really no plausible way to excuse him on this.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.5

      Key getting it ‘sorted’ ?

      Even the previous DG says he was asleep at the wheel and doesnt have any recall of anything

    • Roflcopter 1.6

      It’ll be interesting to find out how many of the 88 were conducted during Helen Clark’s reign, when certain GCSB laws were changed in 2003 (who was chief advisor during this? Oh yeah, Grant Robertson)… this is going to backfire on Labour, stocking up on popcorn.

  2. GregJ 2

    I’ve only had a cursory glance at the contents and some of the recommendations but I think a number of things are of interest:

    1. GCSB looks likely to have a fairly significant restructure – Fletcher may have been intending to restructure anyway but this report will give him the basis for carrying this out now. Whether or not this was a “happy” circumstance for the Govt or not I don’t know – it does allow them to deflect from Key’s role in DotCom though by making it look like GCSB was disorganized and “dropped the ball”.

    2. The GCSB Act is likely going to be changed – I expect the ability to “assist” the Police and NZSIS with surveillance and communication is likely to be clarified – whether that extends GCSB mandate into “domestic communications” will be interesting. As an aside did anyone notice the National Assessment Bureau’s mandate was extended in 2010 to assess domestic as well as foreign matters? Watch this space.

    3. The Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence & Security to be “beefed up” and I think it likely that the legislation will be changed to remove the need for a High Court Judge to be appointed to the role. Given that Warren Tucker’s 2nd contract at NZSIS is due to end this year I wonder if we might see a shake-up in the whole Intelligence Community and an appointment of Tucker as a new IGIS? Is it likely that GCSB will get a boost in funding to address “capability” issues?

    4. Records Management is obviously an issue at GCSB (I’m not surprised by this as the Security Agencies generally have a high level of concern (paranoia?) over modern record keeping techniques/technical systems and network security). I note with interest that no mention is made of the Department’s requirement to comply with the Public Records Act (GCSB is not specifically identified in the PRA as NZSIS is but it is a Department of State as per the State Sector Act) & I’m not aware of any specific exemptions for them to comply with the PRA.

  3. TruthSeeker 3

    I would argue that Key knew about the spying on Dotcom a lot earlier than July. That powerpoint presentation from February is the give away. Why would the GCSB just casually mention Dotcom if Key didn’t already have some foreknowledge of it? It also explains the quip he made when speaking in the staff cafeteria. The July briefing is a bit of a red herring in that regard (especially since his out is “we didn’t discuss specific cases”).

    • GregJ 3.1

      Yes I think that is likely – given the size of the DotCom operation, its international connections & that the raid was happening in his own electorate I can’t believe he didn’t know about it even earlier than that. He had been the Minister responsible for the Security Services for the last 3 years – he can’t just pretend he was new to the job!

    • North 3.2

      I see your picture absolutely GregJ and thank you for it.

      I would expect that the new legislation will quietly take a foot or a yard here and there, but overall the changes will be rationalised quite reasonably and the perception battle will be won, Occasioned by an excellent “CEO” in Ian Fletcher. The bastard’s careful delivery is enriched with hypnotic attrition. He might as well be a High Court judge. Now I see why Key wanted him.

      That leaves me me with this enquiry – “What the fuck is gonna happen next ?”

      Key could win 2014. It would require all sorts of chicanery and character demolition of central people but it could happen. Emotionally – “Well those bastards would do that, amend security legislation and take on residual powers. For their own corrupt “advantage”. Make New Zealanders LESS secure” – say I.

      Then I rebuke myself for my emotionalism. But still, a hint of the question remains.

      Again, “What the fuck is gonna happen next ?” Are you satisfied, against any standard of proof you choose, that this crowd would NOT rationalise authoritarianism to the optimal level of public acceptance ?

      2014-2017 would give Key time to do that. The goal is to change NZ forever. Thanks to the National Party selection process which some years ago, thoroughly advisedly, chopped poor old Neeson off at the knees in Te Atatu and installed the City of London and Wall Street. Both locations contain(ed) the people who WOULD do that !

      • TruthSeeker 3.2.1

        Key won’t win the 2014 election if the truth comes out. He might not even be PM in 2014. That’s how badly he has screwed up.

      • GregJ 3.2.2

        Yes I would share those concerns – and although we are now getting into the realms of political philosophy here and probably off topic – this is why the next Left government can’t just be a replay of the 1999-2008 Labour led administrations. It has to be a Government of transformation that fundamentally changes the neo-liberal structure of the country (or put more crudely one that smashes the neoliberal framework and builds a proper Social Democratic one). Simply putting a kindly, gentler face on government while leaving in place the foundations of neo-liberalism isn’t going to cut it (look at Helen Kelly’s post on the prospective changes to the ERA – effectively taking industrial relations back to the ECA – because the ERA left many of the foundations of the ECA intact).

        Aside from the economic challenges of how we transform our economy to one ready for climate change, the end of cheap fossil fuels, and the new economic reality of the global depression we need to see a left Government that changes the business and structure of government administration – we need replacements for the corporate model of the State Sector implicit in the State Sector Act and the end of the State Owned Enterprises model. What the next left Government can’t do is leave anything in place for the neo-liberals to build on – they get enough help from the private & business sector – they don’t need the left enabling them. This is the lesson to be learnt from the 1999-2008 Governments (I’m not bagging all of the achievements of that time or saying in a time of relative economic good fortune it would have been easy but look how easily those gains are being rolled back).

        There are alternatives and Labour showed in 1935 (& unfortunately in 1984-1990) that radical change can be accomplished. Whether the present main party of the left is capable of this is another question.

        • Colonial Viper 3.2.2.1

          Cogent comment, a plan for action on the left which is transformational, not managerial.

          Neither Labour nor the Greens have it.

  4. muzza 4

    At the end of the day its not going to matter, we will end up with a police state, if we are not already there yet, its a done deal.

    People are asleep at the wheel, and what I see is a deliberate attempt to break down whats left of the perception of democracy in NZ.

    It will not be any different under another govt, because the instructions come from the same source, which is why its so very farked up these days!

  5. Treetop 5

    88 cases of the GCSB spying, 85 for the SIS and 3 for the police. Looks to me that the police were aware of GCSB not being able to spy on a NZ citizen or permanent resident.

    Going back to the Urewera raid there was a mess when it came to the use of the legislation (surveillance on private land, this included interceptions). The police were at fault here.

    The reason for the 88 being spied on needs to be disclosed.

    • Roflcopter 5.1

      “The reason for the 88 being spied on needs to be disclosed.”

      …. and how many of those happened during Labour in government (if not all of them).

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        All those details need to be disclosed. All of them. Including who and how each action was authorised.

      • Chris 5.1.2

        I am sure that if the total of people being spied on under Labour was significant then national would make sure the breakdown became public. The fact that this has not been made public seems to suggest that the bulk of them were made under national.

    • Treetop 5.2

      “…. and how many of those happened during Labour in government (if not all of them).”

      Being ignorant of the law is no excuse. A decade is a long time and more than one PM, Inspector General and more than one director of the GCSB, SIS and police commissioner have been asleep on the job.

  6. BLiP 6

    Not impressed with that Ian Fletcher character either. He’s another liar. Watch at 8:30 on the Campbell Live interview where he says “when we knew [that spying on DotCom was illegal] we fessed up”. Bull. Shit. As soon as the fuckers knew the spying was illegal, they hurried John Key out of the country – even if it meant missing a New Zealand soldier’s funeral – to watch a baseball game while some minion skuttled into Blinglish’s office with a Ministerial Certificate to keep the information secret. The only Ministerial Certificate ever signed (apparently) in recent history, which Blinglish didn’t tell John Key about, and which Blinglish didn’t know was covering up the illegality until John Key told him in mid-September.

    This whole “leak” thing, complete with Ferguson’s involvement and John Key keeping his “mobile ordinary bloke/international statesman/rags-to-riches” brand intact is just far too cute. All principals, including Blinglish, are singing from the same songsheet: the law as written is wrong, while all are distracting from from John Key’s incompetence, both a minister and a prime minister.

    Kim DotCom for PM 2014!!

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Dotcom could always join up the Pirate Party list…

    • Treetop 6.2

      Were I the PM and the director of GCSB kept me in the dark, I would have no confidence in them and I would stand them down. So Key has confidence in a person he HAND PICKED who kept him in the dark. (I am being a lady by using the official version and not the I will protect the PM at any cost to my integrity or self dignity and up the law of the land).

  7. xtasy 7

    Fuck the NZ mainstream media, do they seriously fall for all this bullshit that goes on???

    I cannot believe it. They also serve the largely ignorant public all this window dressing stuff for news, pretending that is what matters, so people continue to be lulled into drivel mentality and keep sleeping with open eyes – while even walking.

    Any person who believes all this nonsense that we get reported every day is an IDIOT!

    This is Key and his old boys network mates pulling all strings they can, to keep the canvas covered over all the machinery they are operating, and all the schemes they are drawing up.

    Year by year this people and country are sold out bit by bit more and more, the land will one day be sold off under your arses, and before you know it, you will be shipped off to an offshore island, to make room for those that will take over to spread their wings and stretch their extremities.

    NZ is like a Titanic steering blindly straight onto the largest iceberg there ever was.

    Screwed up, and the most manipulative, corrupt ones are steering the ship, having their lifeboats on release already, like a one way flight to Hawaii.

  8. Green machine UpandComer 8

    Well Robertson’s thrown Helen Clark under the bus, these go back to 2003. More then one reputation is going to go ‘pop’ and none of these will include Key’s. He just has to clean up the mess.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Key and his hand picked man Fletcher should watch out for the falling axe.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.2

      “none of these will include Key’s”

      *Laugh* Keep reading the news young fella. ‘But but but but Laaaaaabour’ won’t explain what Key’s been sitting on, and just makes him look shifty as.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.3

      Delusional wingnut alert.

      Lying to Parliament and the public ≠ “cleaning up”.

  9. tinfoilhat 9

    Oh FFS if you really want anything to change for the better please vote Green and not for the crooks in National and Labour.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    “88 people illegally spied on.”

    Eddie, they were potentially spied on illegally.. There is not sufficient evidence yet that 88 people actually were spied on illegally, as your article suggests.

    • Pascal's bookie 10.1

      It’s funny how the government is saying that these 88 are different from the DotCom example which they acknowledge was illegal.

      So what could the differences be?

      • Treetop 10.1.1

        Dotcom was arrested and the raid on his Coatesville home was broadcast on 20 January 2012, so there is a name and available footage.

      • Treetop 10.1.2

        I was a bit sarcastic with my first reply.

        “So whay could the differences be?”

        GCSB, SIS and police did not get Dotcom’s permanent residency status right.

        The GCSB spied on the 88 NZers because they thought it was permissible to help the SIS and the police.

        So if the GCSB realised that Dotcom was a permanent resident they still would have spied on him like they did for the SIS and police concerning the 88.

  11. xtasy 11

    HAH, dumbos! Today (Wednesday) Key comes up with what he really wants, to have his GCSB spy “legally” on NZers!

    It sounds like a kind of “Enabling Act” (familiar to those in Germany in 1933), so that what may have been illegal or questionable will be made legal with the stroke of a pen under a swiftly drawn up law amendment.

    Great, revealing stuff, the voted in dictatorship is tightening its grip now.

  12. ghostwhowalksnz 12

    The nice little doge of the SIS and or Police using GCSB has been exposed.

    of course that gave the others plausible deniability when anything wenb wrong.
    And GCSB could say we dont spy on NZs .

    The whole pack of cards and lies has come tumbling down

  13. Chris 13

    Is all this diversion going to shut down the talk of keys part in the Dotcom saga,and a possible enqiry.I hope not.Having watched rennie and fletcher on Campbell I am not convinced that they weren’t lying through their teeth.,the body language and hesitant speech didn’t give me any confidence in their assurances and I’m pretty sure that fletcher didn’t actually answer anything at all.His only moment of non-hesitation was when JC asked him if there had been a recording of the meeting attended by key at GCSB and he replied”no” just about before JC had even finished asking the question.He is our top spy? Really?He certainly looked spooked.

  14. The Devil's Advocate 14

    What will be really interesting will be the details of those 88 lucky Kiwi’s who have been spied on by their own government. If the Dot Com extradition case is anything to go by it will no doubt involve a corporate lawyer, some barking dogs and a whole lot of clowns. Full disclosure is required if we are ever going to move past “The Mate Gate Affair” and make sure it does not happen again.

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