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GCSB Bill: & Dotcom versus FBI, “NZ Intelligence Community” et al

Written By: - Date published: 10:21 am, May 8th, 2013 - 45 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, capitalism, copyright, democracy under attack, john key, nz first, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, us politics, winston peters - Tags:

You’ve got to hand it to Kim Dotcom for his great choice of timing and ability to make the MSM headlines. John Key is leading the House into unnecessary, and politically motivated urgency to push through his anti-democratic Big brother GCSB surveillance Bill.  Meanwhile, Dotcom’s lawyers have released a 39 page white paper making a range of allegations.

Dotcom’s arrest and the subsequent legal proceedings have set in motion activities that Key has opportunistically used to legally increase the state’s ability to spy on activities of any individual or organisation within the country that they choose.

john key trust me

People should take heed of Chris Trotter’s well-considered warnings; ones based on past evidence of NZ state authorities spying on Kiwis, sometimes for politically and/or commercially motivated reasons.

Using the enhanced powers of surveillance bestowed upon it by the new legislation, and operating entirely within the expanded legal parameters it establishes, the “New Zealand Intelligence Community” (as Rebecca Kitteridge calls it) will very soon have the authority to spy upon organisations as old as the trade unions and as new as the groups determined to prevent New Zealand signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement. Greenpeace’s latest campaign against deep-sea oil exploration could also be targeted. The grounds? That it poses a direct threat to “the economic well-being of New Zealand”.

Protecting the economic well-being of the nation has been one of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service’s (NZSIS) objectives for nearly two decades. We simply do not know how many times it has been used to secure interception warrants directed at the activities of fair trade and environment activists. (The release of such information would, of course, prejudice New Zealand’s national security!)


Meanwhile, another clever political operator, who knows how to get his lines into the MSM, Winston Peters, holds his cards close to his chest.  Will he or won’t he support Key’s Stazi-style Spy Bill?  He has said that the law needs to be amended quickly.  However, he is publicly snubbing key’s request for a meeting, by which Key would aim to get Peters’ support for his Bill.

“Why would I do that? We can work this through on the facts and on the legislation, we don’t need to have to go and have a private sitdown like some parties want to do every five minutes.”

He said NZ First had also been offered a briefing on the bill from officials, but said: “Those are the same people who screwed it up in 2003 and screwed it up in 2009 and onwards so we don’t think that’s going to be very helpful.

“It’s better we just work our way calmly through the legislation ourselves and say what we think.”

However, this Bill is too important to rush through quickly.  I don’t understand why Peters sees it as so urgent?  And his suggestions for strengthening oversight of the intelligence services look to be inadequate – papering over some cracks.

The White Paper released by Kim Dotcom’s lawyers today, makes accusations against the FBI, the US motion picture industry bosses, Obama, and the “NZ Intelligence Community.”  This shows how much NZ’s domestic and external intelligence services are cordinated with US state surveillance services.  NZ’s economic, social and political sovereignty is also at stake here.  David Fisher in today’s NZ Herald reports,

Kim Dotcom has called for an investigation into the FBI case against Megaupload in a legal review which accuses Prime Minister John Key of being misled by the United States.

The “White Paper” released by Mr Dotcom last night also alleges the illegal spying by the GCSB went on for 10 days longer than the spy bureau has previously admitted. …

It calls for investigations by US Senate oversight committees, linking the motives for the prosecution to Hollywood studios’ political contributions and support for President Barack Obama….

Dotcom alleges that Obama influenced the proceedings against Megaupload, because the president aimed to,

“… mollify the motion picture industry in exchange for campaign contributions and political support”.

Well, Dotcom probably supports the values of “neoliberal” capitalism, and is no great (US style) Democrat.  So the detailed White Paper, and its legal and political implications need careful consideration.  But so too do any changes to the laws responsible for the gathering of “intelligence” by NZ state authorities.  Note also that Trotter indicates there’s another related Bill on the table:

If you think I’m being alarmist, just take a look at the Government’s next brick in the “national security” wall: the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill.

In an earlier post, Trotter exposed how Key has been working towards the amalgamation of NZ’s intelligence services under his sole authority since 2009.  This is evident from the Kitteridge Report in which:

The first clue Ms Kitteridge supplies is her reference to something called the New Zealand Intelligence “Community” (NZIC). This new kid on the national security block is the sum arrived at by adding the parts known as The NZ Security Intelligence Service, The GCSB and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

Professors Kevin P Clements and Richard Jackson of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago express their concern over the proposed Spy Bill.

This is no time to be complacent.  We need to keep watching the watchers, and to actively support those that resist Key’s blatant disregard of democratic processes!


The first reading of the GCSB amendment Bill began in the House this afternoon.

In his speech in the House, Peters appeared to be aiming at a statesmanlike position bringing both sides of the House together. He claims to want adequate security for Kiwis against nasty “terrorists” but also wants adequate insurance that Kiwis’ privacy won’t be breached. He said NZ First will vote against the bill at this stage.

Later today Peters released a statement:

New Zealand First has accused the Government of “bully boy” tactics in trying to stampede the Government Communications Security and Related Legislation Amendment Bill through Parliament. …

“We received a copy of the legislation and a letter from the Prime Minister yesterday morning.

“We studied the legislation, listed our concerns and made a constructive response to the Prime Minister today.

“Our response was ignored – except for a brief phone call – and the legislation was introduced under urgency. It is flawed, draconian and unacceptable in a free, open and democratic society.

“We believe the legislation has been drafted in haste and it should go back to the drafting office before proceeding any further,” says Mr Peters.


45 comments on “GCSB Bill: & Dotcom versus FBI, “NZ Intelligence Community” et al”

  1. As has been mentioned by Gordon Campbell (http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/05/07/gordon-campbell-on-the-gcsbs-enhanced-role/) this is the ultimate bare knuckled steel bar jack booted example of nanny state that you could ever imagine.

    It puts some of Farrar’s hyperbole into perspective. He apparently said:

    “First they came for our light bulbs, and then they came for our showers!! Is there no limit to the nanny state?”

    Well based on National’s behaviour apparently not.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Yeah I trust Farrar will be attacking this proposed expansion of state powers any day now. He knows better than most what increased surveillance, interception and recording of internet traffic means.

    • AmaKiwi 1.2

      @ mickysavage

      You are a lawyer. I am not.

      How great is the risk that Kim Dotcom can sue New Zealand for the destruction of his $1 BILLION company?

      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        I am sure he will think about it although the US Government looks like it is in his sights at this stage.

      • King Kong 1.2.2

        He will have more on his mind than suing NZ when he is someones girlfriend in a federal penitentiary.
        The man is a thief and it really amuses me that those on the left are championing a stealing billionaire. Any enemy of John Key…

        • karol

          Dotcom is no more a “thief” than other neoliberal capitalist. He’s just a bit out of step with the dominant capitalists in the way he has found entrepreneurial opportunities via the Internet.

          And, as I said in my post, I do not see Dotcom as a leftie or US style Democrat.

  2. joe90 2

    Perhaps we’re already there.


    “All of that stuff” – meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant – “is being captured as we speak”.

    • muzza 2.1

      NSA have been working inside of companies like AT&T for a very long time, thats well documented.

      NSA are also building the worlds largest data centres, all for your safety course.

      Amazing how many *conspiracy theories*, are turning into conspiracy reality!

      Problem, Reaction, Solution!

      • Ben 2.1.1

        Thank god for AES encryption.

        As far as is currently known there’s no way to break it in a meaningful period of time, but as touched on in the referenced article, this may be changing very quickly.

        I’m seeing a need for a method of encrypting all communication with AES very soon, because if it’s encrypted when it’s captured, it’s likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Applying that to SMS and regular email, etc, may prove problematic, and there’s still the problem of protecting the key.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yeah except you’ll be flagged quick smart if you start using strong encryption on a regular basis.

          • infused

            As far as I know, it’s legal here. It’s not legal in the us to use anything above 128bit.

          • Ben

            In my view that’s basically another way of saying “nothing to fear, nothing to hide.” I take my privacy a lot more seriously than that. To suggest everyone who uses encrypted email must be guilty of something is bordering on paranoid.

            I encrypt most of my data because it’s sensitive *to me*, not because it’s illegal (to be abundantly clear, it isn’t illegal – it’s family pictures etc which, if I lost the device, I wouldn’t want anyone else to have access to). To me it’s no different to having a lock on your front door, or your diary.

            I know there are laws about exporting certain types of encryption technology outside US borders – I’ve come up against it with various distributions of Linux. I don’t know the exact details, but I’ve never been in a situation where AES simply isn’t available.

            Now if governments were to make encryption itself illegal, that would be very interesting indeed.

            • Colonial Viper

              Uh, my comment had nothing to do with the contents of your communications, your reasons for using encryption or the legal status of your communications.

              All I said was that if you use encrypted communications on a regular basis, it will be noticed.

      • Paul 2.1.2

        The words ‘conspiracy theory’ are used to stop dissent, by linking perfectly reasonable and rational questioning of the official stories presented to extreme positions and ideas without any rational evidence to back them up.

  3. Intelligence gathering based on telephone traffic was part of Israel’s espionage activities when the 9/11 attacks took place.


    What Israel has done in return was to set up government subsidized telecommunications companies which operate here in the United States. One of these companies is Amdocs, which provides billing and directory assistance for 90% of the phone companies in the USA. Amdocs’ main computer center for billing is actually in Israel and allows those with access to do what intelligence agencies call “traffic analysis”; a picture of someone’s activities based on a pattern of who they are calling and when. Another Israeli telecom company is Comverse Infosys, which subcontracts the installation of the automatic tapping equipment now built into every phone system in America.

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      I return to my previous question to micky savage (and anyone else out there with professional legal knowledge):

      “How great is the risk that Kim Dotcom can sue New Zealand for the destruction of his $1 BILLION company?”

      If Dotcom can sue us (NZ) for destroying his business, this is the elephant in the room. Dotcom won’t mention it because he wants to remain popular with the NZ public and judges.

      If it is a possibility, this is part of the conversations between governments today. “We pulled off this stunt to get your president re-elected. It has put us in deep political shit with our voters and we could have a huge budget blow-out. Why? Because we did your dirty work for you. Make us an offer or we do a deal with Dotcom now.”

      • veutoviper 3.1.1

        Dotcom is currently on a Live Chat hour on the Herald online and this is the answer to a question on this very issue:

        “When you are acquitted, are you still adamant that you will not seek compensation at the expense of the NZ taxpayer?

        The US and Hollywood are responsible for what happened. Our expectations is that down the road there will be lawsuits filed in the US. But of course I also have legal bills in the millions in NZ and will seek orders here to be able to pay those. I don’t want to burden the NZ taxpayer and anything that is awarded to us in NZ (beyond legal fees) will go to charities like Starship Children Hospital which I have supported in the past.

        The Live Chat (still going on) can be viewed here


        • AmaKiwi

          Please pause for a moment of prayer:

          “We pray Dotcom does not change his mind.”


      • Ugly Truth 3.1.2

        “Make us an offer or we do a deal with Dotcom now.”

        NZ politicians are in no position to threaten the US. Key’s “misstatement” about the Christchurch earthquake being man-made is significant given the US officials who were visiting at the time.


        • One Anonymous Knucklehead


          • Ugly Truth

            1. 9 members of US Congress were in Christchurch for a summit meeting on Feb 21 & 22 but left Christchurch 2.5 hours before the earthquake hit and relocated to Wellington even though the meeting was not due to finish until the evening of Feb 22nd. (http://chemtrailsnorthnz.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/report-nine-us-congressmen-left-christchurch-right-before-quake-hit/)
            2. The US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was supposed to be visiting Christchurch and speaking at the summit meeting on Feb 22, but on Feb 18 announced she was cancelling her visit
            3. The Deputy Administrator of FEMA (US Federal Emergency Management Agency), Timothy Manning, just happened to be in Christchurch at the time with a US delegation. (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2011/02/fema_official_in_new_zealand_w.html) All of the rest of the delegation left Christchurch shortly before the quake hit except for Mr Manning who stayed behind, and then after the quake hit he assisted with directing the emergency response. Exactly the same thing happened with FEMA delegates with the Haitiearthquake. In Haiti , the FEMA delegates just happened to be there at the time conducting training exercises for responding to major earthquakes.
            4. Recently retired US Admiral Thad Allen just happened to be in Christchurch at the time of the earthquake. Admiral Allen directed the US federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Gulf Oil disaster. (http://chemtrailsnorthnz.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/admiral-thad-allen-in-christchurch-at-time-of-earthquake/)
            5. 116 members of the Singapore army just happened to be in Christchurch at the time for training exercises and were also able to assist with the response operation
            6. Venezuela President, Hugo Chavez stated on Fox News shortly after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 that ‘the United States apparently possesses an earthquake weapon that set off the catastrophic quake in Haiti’ and also said that ‘the Haiti quake was caused by a US test of an experimental shockwave system that can also create weather anomalies which cause floods, droughts, and hurricanes (our Australian and Queensland cousins may be interested in that last piece of information)
            7. Following the Haiti earthquake, Venezuelan news also reported ‘the US government’s HAARP program may also be to blame for the 7.8 earthquake in China in 2008’, and said ‘the cataclysmic ruin in Haiti was only a test run for a much bigger game: the coming showdown with Iran’


            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              We’re having trouble sourcing really high quality drivel, but this is just the thing.

              More drivel please.

              • Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Nicola Tesla is one of this century’s greatest scientists. A prodigious inventor of electronic devices and pioneer of free energy, Tesla never gained the recognition he deserved because his scientific breakthroughs were deemed to ‘sensitive’ by the ruling corporate and government powers of the day. Thus much of his research was suppressed and stolen.

                In a book entitled Tesla – The Lost Inventions, a section is titled “Man-Made Earthquake”. It discloses Tesla’s fascination with the power of resonance and he experimented with it not only electrically but on the mechanical plane as well. In his Manhattan, USA lab, Tesla built mechanical vibrators and tested their powers. One experiment got out of hand.

                Tesla attached a powerful little vibrator driven by compressed air to a steel pillar. Leaving it there, he went about his business. Meanwhile, down the street, a violent quaking built up, shaking down plaster, bursting plumbing, cracking windows, and breaking heavy machinery off its anchorages.

                Tesla’s vibrator had found the resonant frequency of a deep sandy layer of subsoil beneath his building, setting off a small earthquake. Soon Tesla’s own building began to quake. It is reported that just as the police broke into his lab, Tesla was seen smashing the device with a sledge hammer, the only way he could promptly stop it.

                In a similar experiment, on an evening walk through the city, Tesla attached a battery powered vibrator, described as being the size of an alarm clock, to the steel framework of a building under construction. He adjusted it to a suitable frequency and set the structure into resonant vibration.

                The structure shook, and so did the earth under his feet. Tesla later boasted he could shake down the Empire State Building with such a device. If this claim was not extravagant enough, he went on to say a large-scale resonant vibration was capable of splitting the earth in half.

                An article from the 11 July, 1935 issue of the New York American entitled ‘Tesla’s Controlled Earthquakes’, stated Tesla’s “experiments in transmitting mechanical vibrations through the earth – called by him ‘the art of telegeodynamics’ – were roughly described by the scientists as a sort of controlled earthquake.”

                The article quotes Tesla as stating:

                The rhythmical vibrations pass through the earth with almost no loss of energy. It becomes possible to convey mechanical effects to the greatest terrestrial distances and produce all kinds of unique effects. The invention could be used with destructive effect in war…


                • infused

                  That stuff about Tesla was actually pretty interesting.

                • Murray Olsen

                  Tesla was a very interesting guy, who was responsible for a number of breakthroughs. Almost none of the rubbish on the internet about him has any relation to anything he actually did.

                • Clockie

                  I’m a sure any vibratory device that can “make the earth move” as much as that has a real commercial future. Coming to an adult store near you soon.. 🙂

                  • ghostrider888

                    that was a long the lines of my thoughts Clockie, although…

                    • Clockie

                      although.. might be a bit much? 🙂

                    • ghostrider888

                      i do value Tesla’s contributions, buy other people? not so much 😀 (although U T can be Infectious sometimes).

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Now mention the Templars.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.3

        “How great is the risk that Kim Dotcom can sue New Zealand for the destruction of his $1 BILLION company?”

        I hear that the Crown very recently gained a billion or so, so maybe it could go to Dotcom.

    • McFlock 3.2

      Similar allegations have been made about Huawei, and of course Roosevelt got his buddies (not even govt services) to read trans-atlantic signals via the exchange pre-US involvement in WW2.

      Your focus on Israel and 9/11 seems a bit random.

      • Ugly Truth 3.2.1

        The reason that I focus on Israel is because of the strong role of religion within terrorist activity. The Zionist state of Israel was largely a product of WW2, both from Hitler’s overt support of Zionism and from the Balfour Declaration in response to Nazi judenhass. Hilter was nominally a Catholic, and Germany was predominantly a Christian nation.

  4. js 4

    The Waihopai appeal is going on as well today. Cases linked.

  5. BLiP 5

    Whew! John Key has had a busy week and its only Wednesday . . .

    – Wellington City is dying.

    – the GCSB has been prevented from carrying out its functions because of the law governing its functions

    – because the opposition is opposed to the GCSB law ammendments, parliamentary urgency is required

    – the increasing number of cyber intrusions which I can’t detail or discuss prove that the GCSB powers need to be extended to protect and work with private enterprise

    – it was always the intent of the GCSB Act to be able to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the SIS and police

    – National Ltd™ is not expanding the activities of the GCSB with this new law

    – National Ltd™ has been working on a number of things with New Zealand First one of which has a financial component but I can’t talk about it

    – the best way to get growth in the economy is to reduce public debt

    . . . moar items for the list. Keep it up, John, I’m lovin’ it.

  6. karol 6

    The first reading of the GCSB amendment Bill began in the House this afternoon.

    Peters’ speech was delivered with gravitas, and with strong rhetorical emphasis on some points.

    He appears to be aiming at a statesmanlike position bringing both sides of the House together. He pointed out the parts of the Bill he doesn’t agree with, to do with inadequate oversight of the GCSB. He stressed what he wants to see in the Bill and said that, at this stage NZ First would be voting against the Bill.

    He claims to want adequate security for Kiwis against nasty “terrorists” but also wants adequate insurance that Kiwis’ privacy won’t be breached.

  7. Paul 7

    So the GCSB and the police will start trawling through the Standard and other threats to the free market.

    • Anne 7.1

      @ Paul
      What makes you think the GCSB (especially under the present Director, Ian Fletcher who answers personally as well as professionally to John Key) hasn’t already charged his minions with the task of checking us all out. After all we are far left (Johnny boy says so) and therefore dangerous subversives in the making. 🙂

  8. fear all 8

    the worst I suppose that can happen to any offending Kiwi is death by some US agency hopefully it will only be our money and lively hood
    I WILL CHECK my bank balance in the next 24hrs and wait for a raid by some govt agency
    Yes enough reason to be worried

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          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
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  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
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  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
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  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
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  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
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  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
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    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
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  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
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