Andrew Little’s letter to the Select Committee on election interference puzzled me – it seemed to be out of the blue and not particularly relevant to our system. Then I read about a meeting on the Gold Coast last year and it became clear as to why – FiveEyes pressure.
In August 2018, FiveEyes Ministers
agreed to respond jointly to “severe” foreign interference and call out the nations responsible amid concern in the West over Russian and Chinese government influence.
In a joint statement, the ministers said foreign governments, actors and their proxies were involved in “coercive, deceptive and clandestine activities” to “sow discord, manipulate public discourse, bias the development of policy, or disrupt markets”.
The so-called Russia-gate was always a beat-up, driven mostly by the need to find an excuse for the debacle that was the Democrat campaign, and also to draw attention away from the activities of the FBI and CIA that are now coming into the limelight.
And the attack on the Democratic committee emails is another hack-versus-leak issue. Political parties always prefer to talk about hacks as it implies outside interference rather than insider dissatisfaction. Boris Johnson is now claiming credit for the removal of Russian diplomats over the Skripal affair as his great diplomatic triumph. Whatever else you might say about the Skripals, it is certainly true that the Russians didn’t make them die but the British have made them disappear. I’ve commented earlier about how the Inquiry provided an opportunity for another attack on China.
However when it came to New Zealand, the SIS and GCSB told the Select Committee that they found no evidence of such interference in our election.
So why did Andrew Little feel he should raise the issue in New Zealand? Just following the crowd?
For there are serious issues at stake. The United States war on Russia and China has now moved from the back page to the front page – more on that in another post. We absolutely must stay independent. This FiveEyes lock-step is a worrying sign that we could be drawn into the US camp by default.
Andrew Little is the responsible Minister. We need to be sure that he is responsible for our independence. We could lose a lot of what we have in our culture and polity that is unique and valuable, if we get sucked into these great power games.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, and US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on the Gold Coast.