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88 flavours of bullshit

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, August 2nd, 2013 - 31 comments
Categories: john key, Spying - Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday Key played the reds under the beds terrifying terrorists card to try and justify his spying Bill:

Key terror claims under fire

The Government intensified its sales job on the GCSB Bill yesterday, with the Prime Minister claiming some New Zealand citizens have had al-Qaeda training in Yemen. …

In an apparent bid to emphasise the need for effective spy agencies, Mr Key yesterday said on More FM that some New Zealanders had travelled to Yemen to attend al-Qaeda camps and were under surveillance.

He refused to give further details but, asked later in the day, said he had signed warrants for surveillance of “a small number” of people who were in Yemen.

… It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve broken the law at this point.”

One is a “small number”. Two is a “small number”. 88 is a big number:

The bill was written after the Kitteridge report found 88 cases in which the agency might have spied unlawfully on New Zealanders on behalf of agencies such as the police and SIS.

So who were the other 80-plus (non Yemeni visiting) Kiwis who have been spied on? That’s right – the government won’t tell us. But the examples of people who we believe have been spied on recently are Kim Dotcom and two journalists, Jon Stephenson and Andrea Vance. Journalists. The government sees them as the enemy:

NZSIS has special protocol for spying on journalists

The country’s internal intelligence agency has a special protocol for spying on journalists, the Prime Minister’s office has confirmed.

The revelation of the protocol came in a letter which effectively confirmed journalists as valid targets for NZSIS surveillance.

Presumably there is some tiny but “real” risk of terrorist action in NZ. But it doesn’t justify the broad powers of the Key-Dunne spying Bill (as terrorism expert Professor Robert Patman just stated on Morning Report). Recent experience and the government’s own protocols show that these spying powers will be used on activists and journalists that the government of the day doesn’t like. The 88 who have been illegally spied on already call bullshit.

31 comments on “88 flavours of bullshit ”

  1. Sable 1

    Its McCarthyism all over again. Sadly there are people who will be happy to sell their rights on the assumption that this tool will keep them safe from a threat that doesn’t exist.

    • Bill 1.1

      from a threat that doesn’t exist.

      Yup. Nice to see you haven’t unquestionably adopted that ‘presumption’ about a ‘tiny but real risk of terrorist action in NZ.’ Zero oxygen and maximum derision should be given to that kind of bullshit.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Hi Anthony. More than the 88 flavours, I believe what we have seen in the last week is the revelation of events with the severity of a constitutional crisis.

    Yes, terrorism presents some risk. But the real danger is in allowing ourselves to fall for the authoritarian impulses of those who would use terrorism as an excuse for an undemocratic power grab.

    Key must stand down as Minister of the Intelligence Services and his Chief of Staff must be relieved of duty, until such time it is shown that both men have acted legally and appropriately within the national interest in both those roles.

    • Arfamo 2.1

      A butterfly flaps its wings near a kiwi journalist in Afghanistan and causes a storm in the USA:


      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        well put

        • Arfamo

          Key must stand down as Minister of the Intelligence Services and his Chief of Staff must be relieved of duty, until such time it is shown that both men have acted legally and appropriately within the national interest in both those roles.

          Just re-read your comment above. You’re right. If the Minister responsible for the Intelligence Services was anybody other than the Prime Minister the clamour from all sides for a stand down during an immediate investigation would probably be deafening.

  3. richard 3

    Three very good pieces on RNZ this morning

    Palmer: Parliamentary Service resignation doesn’t surprise former PM

    Dr Paul Buchanan: Security Analyst – blaming terrorism for bill is a last resort
    (a pity that GR was in a hurry to get to the next item

    Brent Edwards: GCSB saga: Are there more scalps to come?

  4. tricledrown 4

    The enemy of the freedoms that we enjoy is john keys vanity it knows no bounds
    now media will be hunting him like a pack of hounds.

  5. vto 5

    Was there a noticeable anti-Key flavour to TV3 news last night?

    • David H 5.1

      Well when i started watching the late tv3 news, I did have to check I was on the right channel, because in the first 5 minutes I was laughing so much. And having Isky, I was able to rewind it, and have yet a second good laugh. Some of the best comedy I have seen in ages. And all at the Shonkey ones expense.

      Edit: There was one thing that did disgust me, and that was Key saying “we didn’t lose any sleep over it” Arrogant prick.

      • vto 5.1.1

        “we didn’t lose any sleep over it”

        That’s his poker face, that is all. Pretending calm when he has used all his aces……

    • Arfamo 5.2

      Was there a noticeable anti-Key flavour to TV3 news last night?

      Oh my word, yes. Lol. TV One news at 6 was the opposition’s dream-come-true.

  6. ak 6

    Imagine the police discover crimes against 88 victims. They’ve nabbed the crooks, so what’s their next automatic obligation?

    That’s right, inform the unaware 88.

    But what if the crooks were other cops? Acting under orders from the top cop in the land?

    What if revealing those 88 victims would also reveal other crimes?

    Like using illegal state actions for purely political purposes?

    And if the 88 were only the tip of an iceberg?

    Well then we’d see some very worried eyes I’d say. And hear of every distracting thing but the 88.

  7. One Anonymous Knucklehead 7

    Key is clueless or cynical. He talks about balancing human rights against the government’s rights, apparently unaware that government’s don’t have rights, John, they have duties and responsibilities.

    • bad12 7.1

      Not clueless, cynical and Slippery, you can see the cynicism and Slippery-ness in the way the Eaggleson emails were first admitted to by the Slippery one in the Parliament,

      First, there was the apology IF his Chief of Staff had done anything wrong, then the release of the first email which while bad gave him and opportunity to ‘spin’ by attaching ‘meanings’ to the phrasing of the email,

      All the while holding back on the second email AND the 22 emails sent by Henry to Parliamentary services and only releasing the 2nd Eaggleson at the peak of the heat after the 1st was released,

      Cynicism is then knowing Russell Norman now knew of the 22 Henry emails, is to have Steven Joyce while the Prime Minister is absent from the House admit to the 22 Henry emails existence and then refuse to divulge the contents of them,

      If what Peter Dunne say is true, that Henry approached Him asking for details of specific conversations/texts between Dunne and Vance on their private mobile phones then 88 flavors of bullshit will end up choking the Slippery little Shyster we have as Prime Minister…

    • weka 7.2

      “Key is clueless or cynical”

      Or calculating and doesn’t give a shit. People like him are in effect traitors, the consitutional wellbeing of NZ is only important in so far as it helps the real agenda.

      • bad12 7.2.1

        Oh calculating and giving a s**t about His own skin Weka,desperation yesterday caused Him to come out with the ”Al Quaeda terrorists in New Zealand line”, and to give the Slippery little Shyster His due, to a certain extent His releasing of what is essentially classified information did exactly what He intended it to do,

        When in deep s**t change the subject, consider which story the bulk of the media run with last night as various experts came out of the wood work going tut tut about His tenuous use of such ‘terrorists’ as reasoning to empower the GCSB with far wider powers than they currently possess,

        Backing down from ‘terrorists’ will be a breeze for Slippery the Prime Minister when the truth emerges that it is in fact terrorist in the singular that has traveled to the Yemen, but, thats small change to Him as He has got to lead the narrative for the day and the 2 other items of deep interest that are likely to further tarnish the Slippery over-coat he constantly relies upon to fool the mass of the public went largely unnoticed and unmentioned amid the furore surrounding terrorists,

        Firstly there was Russell Norman’s revelation yesterday in the Parliament that there are a further 22 emails from the Henry Inquiry to Parliamentary Services which the Prime Minister conveniently up to the point of being directly asked about these 22 emails during the Parliaments question Time has not thought ‘important’ enough to mention and up to this point the details of which he refuses to release,

        Russell Norman i am sure is not about to forget about these 22 emails simply because the Prime Minister has dragged, conveniently on the day Russell asked about them, a large red herring in the form of a NZ terrorist in Yemen across the track, but the Prime Minister knows that and has simply used terrorism’s threat to have the bulk of the media not mentioning these 22 emails or the fact that the Prime Minister has up to yesterday seen fit to keep them and their contents secret,

        Also yesterday Dunne publicly, on Prime News at 5.30 stated that Henry on behalf of His inquiry had directly asked Dunne about specific texts/conversations between Dunne and Vance on their respective mobile phones, again Slippery the Prime Minister dodges a bullet, the major channels at 6 gave this not a mention instead taking up the Prime Minister’s red herring of NZ terrorists,

        This post kindly points out that the SIS have a ‘special protocol’ for spying upon NZ Journalists and Vance has also stated She believes that the Henry Inquiry was operating with knowledge that could have only been garnered from Her personal land-line telephone,

        Duck, dive, dodge, yesterday the Prime Minister did just that because if it becomes general knowledge that the SIS has been using a ‘special protocol’ to spy on not only Andrea Vance but the rest of the Parliaments press pack then quite frankly they will tear Him a new hole where one was never intended nor previously existed…

        • weka

          Yeah, I haven’t really been following it all in the past few days, too much going on to keep up with. For all I know Key is telling lies and there are no terrorists, not even one, just people of interest in Yemen or NZ, or people who perhaps might look like they are people of interest.

          What I was getting at is that if Key’s real job isn’t PM of NZ, but to push NZ further along the path whereby it loses more sovereignty to Key’s rich mates and overlords, then callous and calculating is a better bet than clueless of cynical. Quite different things. If his job is to monkey wrench NZ democracy, then even if he goes down in a screaming heap by the end of it, mission accomplished. I wish he were merely clueless or cynical.

          • Arfamo

            when the truth emerges that it is in fact terrorist in the singular that has traveled to the Yemen, but, thats small change to Him as He has got to lead the narrative for the day and the 2 other items of deep interest that are likely to further tarnish the Slippery over-coat he constantly relies upon to fool the mass of the public went largely unnoticed and unmentioned amid the furore surrounding terrorists

            I dunno. Look at this Stuff Poll today. I realise this doesn’t mean all these people think it’s proof he’s shonKey, but still … I reckon they are waking up to it….

            How is the prime minister handling the Parliamentary phone records scandal?

            162 votes, 12.3%

            865 votes, 65.7%

            It’s more a Parliamentary Service issue
            159 votes, 12.1%

            Don’t really care
            130 votes, 9.9%

            Total 1316 votes

            • Colonial Viper

              The low “don’t really care” vote is going to be scary for the NATs.

              • Arfamo

                Funny thing. The Herald hasn’t run a similar poll. Must’ve been distracted by something else….I have a theory that Stuff readers watch TV One news at 6, because they roasted Key last night.

            • bad12

              Yes my point exactly, Slippery the Prime Minister is ‘privy’ to how well He is doing week by week on any particular issue and government in general, his own party continually polls the electorate to garner this information,

              Those ‘spinning’ on behalf of the Prime Minister can claim that the ‘average bloke’ isn’t concerned about the GCSB clusterf**k of scandals all they like but when ‘clusterf**k’ is the central and only news emanating from the center of political power the Prime Minister has a problem that those not interested in the core issues of that clusterf**k will pick up on the negatives for the Prime Minister on all sorts of other levels,

              If the Stuff poll is a relevant cross section of the voting public then i suggest that the Prime Minister has more than just a ‘problem’ remembering that we have month’s of revelations yet to come from the privileges committee to the Dotcom extradition hearings…

  8. marsman 8

    Chris Findlayson claims people opposing the GCSB Bill are scaremongering while John Key is scaremongering with his Yemen claim.

    • David H 9.1

      Well then if we ALL do the same Google searches. It’ll keep them running round after their tails for years!!

  9. Bill 10

    Oh gawd! Robert (the US were victims of their own benevolence in Vietnam…Iraq’s rightfully invaded due to WMD’s…etc…etc) Patman’s a ‘terrorist specialist’ now, is he? ffs

  10. Bob 11

    Where do I start here.

    “One is a “small number”. Two is a “small number”. 88 is a big number”
    Does this mean in priciple you agree we do need powers to spy on ‘One’ or ‘Two’ people? All the GCSB bill is doing is clarifying the contradiction in the 2003 laws passed by Labour that meant that the NZSIS, Police and Defence Force could obtain a warrant allowing the GCSB to spy on people of interest to them, including NZ residents and Citizens. The issue being, the GCSB’s own legislation then said they couldn’t give the NZSIS, Police and Defence Force the information they collected under the legally issued warrant! This is what has happened 88 times over the past 10 years (there have been more NZers win $1m or more in Lotto in that time!).

    “… It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve broken the law at this point.””
    This is true, because it depended on the interpretation of the above contridiction.

    “The bill was written after the Kitteridge report found 88 cases in which the agency might have spied unlawfully on New Zealanders on behalf of agencies such as the police and SIS.”
    To FIX the above contridiction.

    “So who were the other 80-plus (non Yemeni visiting) Kiwis who have been spied on? That’s right – the government won’t tell us”
    Because they don’t have too under the existing legislation, and there is no oversight over the existing legislation, the GCSB bill before Parliament goes some way to rectifying this.

    “The country’s internal intelligence agency has a special protocol for spying on journalists, the Prime Minister’s office has confirmed”
    This was put in place while Labour was in Parliament, and has been removed since this has been found.

    “Presumably there is some tiny but “real” risk of terrorist action in NZ. But it doesn’t justify the broad powers of the Key-Dunne spying Bill”
    The tiny risk is the reason for this bill, if there were no spying powers in NZ we wouldn’t know what the risk is! Plus, having no legislation in place means there would be no deterant, just like almost all legislation in place to save people from themselves, i.e. if we removed legislation on speeding while driving your car, would you expect people to drive slower, faster or not change their habits?

    Now, just to front foot comments about the Human Rights Commision, the Law Society etc. All of their comments were made prior to the changes in legislation that Peter Dunne made prior to the second reading. The changes the Dunne negotiated has tightened the oversight of the bill, and covered the main concerns about the legislation as it stood at its first reading.

    Another thing, before people start saying ‘what about Meta-data’, ‘this gives the GCSB broader powers’ etc. Please make sure you do not confuse the GCSB bill with the TICS legislation. Now the TICS legislation IS something to get up in arms about!

    • richard 11.1

      You are being misleading. There cannot have been any legal warrants for the GCSB to collect information on New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. This is because it is expressly forbidden in the 2003 Act and it is against the purpose of the GCSB as defined by the Act.

      There may have been legal warrants for the police and NZSIS for this but it could not have been used by the GCSB under any circumstances.

      For your edification:

      Under Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 the purpose of the GCSB is:

      7. Objective of Bureau
      (1) The objective of the Bureau is to contribute to the national security of New Zealand by providing-
      (a) foreign intelligence that the Government of New Zealand requires to protect and advance-
      (i) the security or defence of New Zealand; or
      (ii) the international relations of the Government of New Zealand; or
      (iii) New Zealand’s international well-being or economic well-being; and
      (b) foreign intelligence to meet international obligations and commitments of the Government of New Zealand; and
      (c) advice, assistance, and protection to departments of State and other instruments of the Executive Government of New Zealand in order to-
      (i) protect and enhance the security of their communications, information systems, and computer systems; or
      (ii) protect their environments from electronic or other forms of technical surveillance by foreign organisations or foreign persons.
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a)(iii), the interests of New Zealand’s international well-being or economic well-being are relevant only to the extent that they are affected by the actions or intentions of foreign organisations or foreign persons

      Section 14 of the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 states,

      Restrictions imposed on interceptions
      14 Interceptions not to target domestic communications
      Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.

  11. Jenny 12

    Something to ask the Prime Minister in question time, perhaps.

    Can the minister responsible for the secret security services tell the house how many,if any, of the 88 New Zealanders illegally spied on by the GCSB are terrorists?

    Supplaemtary question:

    Is it: One?

    Is it Two?

    Is it Ten?

    All of them/?

    None of them?

  12. BLiP 13

    More bullshit from John Key . . . the latest additions:

    I have the utmost respect for the media and the role it plays in New Zealand’s democracy

    the Henry Enquiry did not access a journalist’s building-access records

    the Greens are opposed to the GCSB and the SIS even existing

    the GCSB needs to spy on New Zealanders because there are al-Qaeda trained operatives living here

    John Minto is in the Green Party

    the GCSB needs to spy on New Zealanders because of the terrorist threat, even though official reports released over my signature say there is no risk and the SIS has the matter in hand

    . . . keep it up, John. I’m lovin’ it.

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