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From cock-up to cover-up

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, October 6th, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: crime, john key, Spying - Tags: , ,

The narrative that the Government has tried to sell, and which has been largely accepted to date, is that the GCSB’s illegal spying on Dotcom was a cock-up. They claimed that Key wasn’t briefed, when he was. Using the same ‘unclearly and confusing law’ play as they used on Banks’ donations, the Nats also claimed only a change in immigration law in 2009 protected Dotcom. Now, we know that’s rubbish. Cover-up it is.

See, under the previous law, the GCSB couldn’t spy on people with residence permits. They could spy on people with residence visas. But the visa was just the thing that Immigration gave you when they said ‘OK, you can come to NZ’ before you got here and were given the permit at the border. So, there was theoretically a small window of time for someone who was about to become a permanent resident but hadn’t arrived in NZ yet where the GCSB could spy on them as if they were a foreigner. But the rule was clear: you can’t spy on a permanent resident.

None of that matters to Dotcom because a) he came in under the new law and b) if he had come in under the old law, he would have had the permit and so been protected from the GCSB.

Under the new law, the rule is still the same – the GCSB can’t spy on permanent residents. All that changed was Immigration’s paperwork. They got rid of permits and, instead, you get entry permission when you arrive with your visa. The GCSB’s rules changed so that they couldn’t spy on people with resident’s visas, whether or not they had arrived in the country yet.

Dotcom had a resident’s visa.

For its entire history, the GCSB has not been allowed to spy on permanent residents. A person with a residence/resident’s visa who is in New Zealand has always been protested from GCSB spying. Contrary to Key’s claim that “had he come to New Zealand at the time, without changes to the other laws, in particular GCSB’s law, then his activities would not have been protected”, Dotcom would always have been protected from the GCSB once he was in New Zealand – just his paperwork would have been different.

We’re being asked to believe that a law change that made it illegal for the GCSB to spy on people with resident’s visas before they entered the country was well as once they were here was misinterpreted by them as allowing them to spy on permanent residents all the time because they didn’t have residency permits – because they didn’t exist any more!

Nope.

This smells like bullshit that the GCSB worked up months ago and fed to the senile Judge Neazor.

49 comments on “From cock-up to cover-up ”

  1. outofbed 1

    Word has it. More to come on on Dotcom fiasco
    look for

    October 2011 secret meetings
    Warner brothers
    P Jackson
    John Key
    FBI

    Key will be a goneburger unless they can keep a lid on it all.

    Looks like they will not be able to

    Watch this space

  2. AmaKiwi 2

    Reminds me of Watergate.

    Dotcom could yet sue us, the taxpayers, for the loss of his billion dollar company!

    No one will forgive National for that.

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Key should resign as he has failed to end this farce and no sign its ending soon.

      Key should resign as it looks farcical that he was briefed about Dotcom, an
      example of co-operation with US law enforcement, and did not even consider
      any potential risks – since obviously he was asleep through the briefing.

      Key should resign because the FBI walked away with data that always needed to be
      return if Dotcom extradiction failed.

      Key should resign as his misinformation distraction has us all believing that
      NZ tax-payers will be liable for billions.

      Though I doubt that is the case. Really, the Nz government was obliged to help,
      the loss of data was entirely a FBI issue (and still is), and it does not follow that
      anything would have been different had he been legally spied on. And finally
      and not least how is it the responsibility of the NZ government that a man
      wanted by the US, in the US, wont go to the US out of their free choice,
      a liability on the NZ for their losses, its not the same deal as a person held
      liable in NZ for a crime in NZ. i.e. a choice does not exist in usual norml
      cases, if Kim were charge with a NZ crime the indemity would not matter
      on any basis of choice on his part, but Kim choose not to go to the Us to
      face charges.

      Then there is SCOTUS who said businesses were persons, so why the US
      needs Kim in the US when it can just go right ahead and sue the company.

      We have yet to hear the real facts of matters, and under the national security
      we are unlike too, aka total cockup in the government handling by Key, the
      minister responsibile.

    • higherstandard 2.2

      Why would he sue NZ in relation to his company ?

      • AmaKiwi 2.2.1

        Because NZ shut down his company, thereby destroying it. It was estimated to be worth $1 billion. All the customers have gone elsewhere so it is now worthless.

        Geoffrey Palmer intimated Dotcom would likely initiate a huge lawsuit. What else could he have in mind and who else could he sue except the NZ crown? I am not a lawyer but it sounds like a case to me.

        • higherstandard 2.2.1.1

          I thought the US shut down his company ?

          • AmaKiwi 2.2.1.1.1

            I pray you are right.

            But what was Geoffrey Palmer referring to? He said something like, “This (Dotcom) is the stuff of which leading cases are made.”

            Are there any lawyers on line who can help us sort this out?

          • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2.1.1.2

            NZ police arrested him and NZ held him in prison, and then there was the illegal stuff

      • tracey 2.2.2

        I imagine he would sue for the illegal raid and the damage suffered is the loss of company revenue from tgat point.

    • marsman 2.3

      Kim Dotcom Please sue John Key, he’s the puppet in charge.

  3. Just goes to show that Politicians should not be writing law.

    • aerobubble 3.1

      A upper chamber, whose very mana is on the line, would filter bad legislation out
      while making sure everyone in the lower chamber looked like a moron for passing
      them it in the first place (unless of course you destroy the Lords as they are doing in
      the UK).

      • BloodyOrphan 3.1.1

        Ultimately just another check/balance it should be achievable in the house as it stands with appropriate civilised analysis.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        A upper chamber, whose very mana is on the line, would filter bad legislation out
        while making sure everyone in the lower chamber looked like a moron for passing
        them it in the first place

        BS, just go have a look at some of the laws that the House of Lords have passed over the last few years.

        • aerobubble 3.1.2.1

          While I agree that the current house of Lords has become embroiled in small minded politics, you have to remember money corrupts and we’re coming off three decades of banks loosening their belts, writing themselves trillions. A system of scarcity when legislative simplicity matters will require a upper chamber as part of the process. Our present senatorial parliament ability to do dumb in timely fashion should recoil us all.

  4. deuto 4

    This whole fiasco just gets more and more fascinating.

    As I posted on Open Mike earlier, Graeme Edgeler goes into more detail of the legal aspects of the changes to the immigration act at the time Dotcom entered NZ as a resident in Dec 2010 in a new post at Public Address. Worth reading.

    http://publicaddress.net/legalbeagle/kim-dotcom-all-the-fault-of-the-immigration/

    Edgeler considers that Key’s statements re the changes to the relevant law changing the GCSB’s power to monitor Dotcom are incorrect etc. IMO, Key was again attempting a whitewash.

    Something that popped into my mind when rereading the Herald article is whether the GCSB (and/or others) were in fact monitoring Dotcom EARLIER than Dec 2010 – ie when he came to NZ three times on a tourist visa as reported in the Herald article.

    Mr Dotcom’s immigration file, released to the Herald through the Official Information Act, shows he travelled to New Zealand as a tourist three times between December 2008 and March 2010. Just before the latter trip, immigration experts Malcolm Pacific approached Immigration NZ to discuss applying for a business visa under the “investor” category, which exists to draw wealthy individuals and their families to settle here.

    The residence visa granting permission to travel to New Zealand was granted on November 18, 2010.

    Presumably during those earlier ‘tourist’ visits, GCSB would have been within the law. If they were watching him during those visits, it would presumably been at the request of the US.
    The whole situation stinks of cover-up rather than cock-up.

  5. Roll on 2014 Election then we can close down both GSCB and SIS totally.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.1

      Disagree. To refuse to use the services of spies sends our troops and diplomats into the world with one layer of protection removed. Not to mention realpolitik.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      Why would we want to do that? Better oversight and possibly better definition of what their role is, sure, but close them down? Na, they have too important a role in our defence.

      • David H 5.2.1

        Just keep cowboys like Key away from them completely. Maybe make a law that they HAVE to meet with the PM or who eversay once a month and have complete and then signed off briefings and more if needed.

  6. ianmac 6

    At least Mr Key gets a few days to design a new spin. Who will he blame for the “change of Law” excuse. Watch this space.
    (Opps. Am signed in but Error message says I am not.)

  7. Jackal 7

    Keys implausible deniability

    It’s apparent that there’s a cover-up going on to try and protect the Minister in charge, John Key, who has now run away to the US to take some of the heat off…

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    Or run to the US to get help cleaning up this mess.

    My imagined conversation in the Federal Building in LA:

    Key: “You guys got ideas on how to end this mess?”

    US Dept. of Injustice (DOJ): “Lock Dotcom up in a secret prison and throw away the key. We’ve got space at Gitmo.”

    Key: “I can’t legally do that.”

    DOJ: “Hell, that’s what our post 9/11 Patriot Act is for. You folks need some terrorists so you can scare your people into giving up all their civil liberties. Try it, you’ll like it.”

  9. tracey 9

    I laughed at keys corroboration being from the director of an organisation whose main tool is deception.

  10. captain hook 10

    I think the chaps at GCSB should be banned from reading comics and watching FBI movies for a month.
    That should put them right.

  11. Poission 11

    What happens when Key is warned that there are significant intelligence risks in Chinese investment in NZ infrastructure.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/huawei-nz-almost-certainly-front-chinese-intelligence-defence-analyst-rv-114974

    http://www.labour.org.nz/news/has-john-key-ignored-warnings-on-huawei

    Ignores it as his intelligence is better ?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-05/huawei-is-security-threat-u-s-lawmakers-say-after-probe.html

    Most probably did not sight the memo.

  12. I am still fascinated by the news that Dotcom’s internet link was much slower than the uber fast link he had been paying for.

    This of course could have been caused by Telecom incompetence and this can almost never be discounted.

    But was it instead spying on him?

    There are 3 possibilities if it was spying:

    1. Overseas intelligence agency – but it appears the extra loops were situated in New Zealand.

    2. SIS – but Key would have to jointly sign the warrant and he says he knows nothing …

    3. GCSB? The Crown memorandum filed in the High Court says that there was an OFCANZ request for “information relevant to location, awareness on the part of the wanted persion of law enforcement interest in them, or any information indicating risk factors in effecting any arrest”. Maybe there was an earlier bout of spying? The information sought is the type of information needed just before arrest and after a decision to prosecute has been made.

    • 4. Legitamite dynamic routes instigated for wellington / auckland gaming etc?

      • Lanthanide 12.1.1

        He organised a 100mb fibre link that connected directly to the southern cross cable. It’s pretty much impossible for the diverted traffic to be for any legitimate purpose.

        • BloodyOrphan 12.1.1.1

          So who was managing it? , If he had a direct link he would’ve been in charge of the router.

          I think you’ve overestimated his Internet prowess somewhat.
          I’d expect he was fibre connected to a Telco switch not the southern cable, and his issue is about getting bandwidth on the big pipes down country.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1.1.1.1

            His connection was from Coatesville to the Sky Tower which implies it was a type of microwave link and I presume Sky Tower has a ultra fast connection to the Telecom routing centre in Airedale St.

      • BloodyOrphan 12.1.2

        “In computing, tee is a command in various command-line interpreters (shells) such as Unix shells, 4DOS/4NT and Windows PowerShell, which displays or pipes the output of a command and copies it into a file or a variable. It is primarily used in conjunction with pipes and filters. The command is named after the T-splitter used in plumbing.[1]”

        This is the “Mirror” people are talking about, it would be routed to a completely separate IP number and would be completely invisible.

        You don’t re-route traffic to snoop it, You smash the router and Tee the connection, or plug in a datascope on the local link.

        • mickysavage 12.1.2.1

          But the existence of a tee connection is proof that the data is being grabbed by someone else whereas if you reroute the data through another network which is secure you do not know what is happening to the data while it is there.

          Remember hiding the identity of the hacker is very important in this sort of situation.

          • BloodyOrphan 12.1.2.1.1

            Absolutely, but there is no evidence of a tee, I’m sure the Telco would be watching it’s switch.
            There is evidence of a specific route within NZ.
            The most likely cause of that is the Telco giving him guaranteed bandwidth routing at his request.

            The Tee is best placed on the Target machine by the way, you can stack smash any OS, if u do the homework.

            • mickysavage 12.1.2.1.1.1

              So BO

              Let’s put aside the technical lingo. If a security agency wanted to monitor someone’s internet activity but did not want its identity discovered it would have to divert the feed away from the person’s ISP where questions could be asked and analysis conducted, into another network where it could do what it wanted away from prying eyes and then back into the person’s ISP.

              If confidentiality is the most important thing then you would reroute, analyse, and send it back?

              • Na bud, they’d only re-route it for 2 reasons …

                1. Long term surveillance authorised by warrant and instigated by Telco.
                (It’d be obvious and they’d want you to know it)

                2. Stop/modify the traffic, (i.e trying to stop a Terrorist from pushing the “Go” button.)

                If you want to analyse the data you would deliver a copy (i.e a separate non responded datastream) of he data to another IP address, it may affect his local speed if they have compromised his local machine, otherwise (they hack the switch), it’ll be invisible , which is the most desirable for “Undercover” surely?

        • Ben 12.1.2.2

          Uhmmm….

          I would strongly doubt you’d use tee to do this. I cannot fathom a reason why you’d use tee, even if you could dump all traffic crossing a particular interface to standard out. The only context in which I’ve ever seen tee used is when working with text files, although it’s true that “standard out is standard out.”

          If you want to capture network traffic off the interface, you’d generally use something designed for that purpose. tcpdump is probably the most common, and you can give it filtering criteria to capture only traffic to / from a certain IP address. Blindly capturing all traffic that passes a particular interface when you’re only interested in traffic for one IP seems a bit daft.

          If you *did* want to capture all traffic that was passing a particular interface, you’d want to do it in a zero-impact fashion. Most enterprise-grade routers will allow you to mirror an entire port’s traffic on to another port. You could then connect that port to a box which simply wrote everything to a file, and you could do that without impacting network performance.

          I also very much doubt they’d be using a Windows box, but….

  13. Anne 13

    I’m seriously challenged when it comes to technology, but even I can see the probability that an off-shore based agency is able to hack into a civilian target’s internet traffic from ‘within’ our borders – especially if they are based in the USA and are therefore part of the ECHELON communication system.

    Given the suspected internet spying occurred in the weeks prior to the GCSB stated commencement date, there’s no prizes for guessing who the off-shore agency may have been. If there should be validity to such a scenario, then the big question would have to be: would the GCSB have known about the previous spying activity of Dotcom and if so… who else would have known.

    Oh what a tangled web…

    • Although Anne the data was eventually headed towards a US based server. So wouldn’t the US officials be better off waiting for it there rather than relying on a foreign nation’s security service which, shall we say, may have been less than optimal in its handling of things?

      • McFlock 13.1.1

        Well, the X-box data went to the us server – but they’d want to know about everything sent to and from dotcom’s machine, which means sitting by dotcom’s front gate to intercept his ingoing/outgoing snail mail, rather than sitting by the front gates of everyone you hope are his only correspondents.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.2

        Remember its a packet based system Dotcoms packets would be ‘lost’ amoung the millions of other users by the time it reaches the US

  14. Anne 14

    This is where my ignorance of technology comes in.

    The data was eventually headed towards a US based server.

    I take your point, and I don’t know the answer to that one. But it is obvious who wanted the information the most badly, so the chances are if it wasn’t the GCSB who was doing the earlier internet spying, then it was almost certainly a US based agency.

    • toad 14.1

      Since this part of the story broke a couple of days ago I have suspected the pre-16 December 2011 spying was not done by the GCSB – they have too much to lose from their current denials if they are proven to be false.

      My bet is the NSA (probably at the instigation of the FBI) were doing the pre-16/12/11 spying on Kim Dotcom that significantly slowed his ping times.

      That would make the story far bigger than it is already, to what is usually euphemised as a “diplomatic incident”.

  15. toad 15

    … and fed to the senile Judge Neazor.

    “Senile” may be an exaggeration, Eddie, but there are definite similarities between The Hon (ex-Justice) Paul Neazor and Mr Justice Ganglion from Tom Sharpe’s Blott on the Landscape.

  16. I too are not a tecky person,but what about the waihopai spy base,would it be routed
    through there ?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 16.1

      Waihopai is a ‘listening’ only base for communications by radio ( less common now) and satellite dishes.

      Satellite is too slow for Dotcom as it requires many up and down links to satellites which are 35000 km above earth. its only say 10000 km by cable to the US

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