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GCSB spied on foreign communications to help Groser’s WTO bid

Written By: - Date published: 7:32 am, March 23rd, 2015 - 133 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, International, national, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

A definite inclusion in the I kid you not file. David Fisher in the Herald revealed this morning that not only is the GCSB engaged in the detection of terrorist threats and the protection of national security but also the interception of communications in an attempt to assist Tim Groser’s bid to become the World Trade Organisation’s Director General.

From the Herald:

Our spies monitored email and internet traffic about international diplomats vying for the job of director-general of the World Trade Organisation – a job for which National Government Trade Minister Tim Groser was competing.

The spying operation was active in 2013 and called the “WTO Project” by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), according to a top secret document obtained by the Herald and United States news site The Intercept.

The operation involved covert surveillance of candidates from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Jordan, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and South Korea.

The GCSB tasking document which structured the search of internet traffic was designed to look for references to Mr Groser, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) role and his competitors, initially in any online communication but then narrowed to emails.

The WTO document can be read here.

Presumably at least some of the intercepted communications were diplomatic.  I wonder if New Zealand’s bid for election to the Security Council would have been as successful if friendly third world nations had discovered that New Zealand had been spying on their diplomats?

The Government’s response is the typical one, cast aspersions on the veracity of the document while at the same time neither confirm nor deny that the document is real.  Groser is quoted as saying:

We do not comment on such leaks because they are often wrong, they are deliberately timed to try and create political damage and we do not comment on any of them.

He was then asked if he knew the GCSB was conducting surveillance for him, and replied “I’ve got no comment to make whatsoever.”  A simple denial would have been preferable Tim unless you know that something was happening.

As well as the major international embarrassment the release will cause there is the not insignificant issue of possible breaches of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.  Diplomatic communications are meant to be sacrosanct.  The treaty is somewhat dated and does not easily fit into modern communications techniques but the expectation that nations do not spy on nations with which they have diplomatic relations is a strong theme of the treaty.  New Zealand has diplomatic relations with each of the above nations and significant relations with Brasil, Indonesia, Mexico and South Korea.

Nicky Hager said on Morning Report that he thinks that John Key sanctioned this spying.  Certainly under the no surprises policy it is difficult to understand how he did not know.

And there is the awkward question again posed on Morning Report if use of the phrase for the search “Tim Groser” meant that the GCSB was spying on a New Zealander in breach of section 14 of the GCSB Act.

It makes you wonder what else the GCSB is engaging in.  Spying on diplomats to seek an advantage in an election suggests that the moral limitations employed by the GCSB are minimal.

133 comments on “GCSB spied on foreign communications to help Groser’s WTO bid ”

  1. b waghorn 1

    “It makes you wonder what else the GCSB is engaging in. Spying on diplomats to seek an advantage in an election suggests that the moral limitations employed by the GCSB are minimal.”
    I would imagine key would of instilled the same culture of the winner takes all and the end justify the means into the gcsb that is the guiding principle of the money and future trading would that he comes from.

    • whateva next? 1.1

      Bang on the nail there

      • Chris 1.1.1

        More of the same, that’s what’s next. People should care about this but people don’t any more. Is part of the carefully planned dumbing down of all of us. Candyflossed news and Reality TV. This is what the Left needs to start thinking about if it’s ever going to save us: how to wake the masses into knowing what the right-wing filth are doing to us all. Simply harping on about issues doesn’t work in this environment. More is needed so that people can understand and care. Part of the right-wing agenda is making us not care – and it’s working.

  2. amirite 2

    This morning Bill English refused to comment on this, John Key is out of the country, which is all very convenient.
    And why has Ian Fletcher resigned from the head position at GCSB ? Private reasons? Yeah right.
    Anyone who thinks this Government isn’t using the GCSB for its own political advantage is very naive.

    • Treetop 2.1

      +1 that Fletcher could not stomach his boss when it came to crossing ethical and moral boundaries.

      • rawshark-yeshe 2.1.1

        you may be right about fletcher, but he didnt seem to mind when Key appointed him through lies and without due process ….

        • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 2.1.1.1

          How convenient also that Fletcher is not here now to bat away the questions.

        • Anne 2.1.1.2

          @ rawshark-yeshe
          He wasn’t living in NZ at the time. Perhaps he didn’t fully appreciate how much lying and lack of due process had been occurring.

          Where is he btw? Still living in NZ or has he moved off-shore again?

          • rawshark-yeshe 2.1.1.2.1

            no idea Anne … hard to believe he was unaware of it. he had issues where he was in Queensland … sorry, but I don’t trust him either in this sorry gang of crooks.

            and as I recall, didn’t he come to a secret meeting before his announcement ?

            and where is the new of the GCSB on this I wonder …

            • Treetop 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Crooks even have their code of not dealing with another crook. Fletcher possibly has managed to climb out of a hole before he got stuck in it.

              • rawshark-yeshe

                yes. be good to believe that something like pedophilia might be too much for him to bear.

                • Treetop

                  What is going to go down in the UK about how corrupt those in government have been and those with close ties who ignored and covered up serious sexual offending… Murdoch is not in the same league as the lowest of the low.

                  I am in agreement with your point of view, even though I differ a bit.

  3. whateva next? 3

    “We do not comment on such leaks because they are often wrong,….”
    Is it this comment that is wrong? Could Grosser be called on this? drill down to some facts instead of all the puffery?

  4. RJL 4

    Whenever a minister “refuses to comment” they are denying an OIA request. They should give reasons for denying comment and the reasons (or lack of) can be appealed to the OIA ombudsman.

  5. fisiani 5

    Do you want Tim Groser to be the WTO Director General or not?
    Do you want our top trade negotiator in this role?
    Do You want our interests voiced at the top table in trade?
    Or are you prepared to put petty point scoring like the above ahead of the best interest of New Zealand?
    Traitors!

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Come on Fisi. Arn’t you worried about the moral and legal and diplomatic implications of the activity?

      • tracey 5.1.1

        No, If John, Bill and Tim say it’s ok to slaughter people’s third born child Fizzy would mount a defence.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1.1.1

          What real advantage did we get with Mike Moore in the top job at WTO.

          Its not like they are pushing our wheelbarrow here.

          • The Murphey 5.1.1.1.1

            Q. What did Mike Moore do to attain the position ?

            Would make for interesting speculation

            • greywarshark 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I seem to remember that he tried to keep a profile in that part of the world but Mike Moore’s position didn’t mean that he had a big budget – had some very ordinary accommodation apparently.

      • Naki man 5.1.2

        Rob Salmond has a good article on this, you should read it, it puts things in perspective. The GCSB are doing what they are paid for, oh that’s right Gweg you have read his article.

        • felix 5.1.2.1

          “The GCSB are doing what they are paid for”

          So what?

          The fact that someone is paid for doing something doesn’t really influence my opinion on the worthiness of doing it.

          People get paid to do mob hits too. And to speculate on movements in the price of currencies, to conduct push-polling for David “DP” Farrar, to play in the Black Seeds, and to astroturf stupid catchphrases for Crosby/Textor.

          You could perform any of those tasks and legitimately claim you were doing what you were paid for, yet I would still say you were making the world worse by doing it.

        • mickysavage 5.1.2.2

          Yes I have and I agree with his comment about the GCSB’s brief and if the action was legal or not. But if you read my post you would see that I raise issues concerning diplomatic immunity and also if spying on Groser’s stuff actually breached section 14. Knock yourself out and comment on these if you like.

          And learn how to spell Greg. Only diehard wing nuts use the spelling you use.

          • Naki man 5.1.2.2.1

            I don’t know about section 14 so I cant comment on that.
            As for the spelling I was referring to your comment on his blog.

            “Gweg Pwesland says:

            23 March, 2015 – 17:18

            Fucking class traitor”

            [lprent: Really? If you wanted to stay on this site yah really shouldn’t have done that – we think it is soooo funnnnny having idiots imitating real people. That dickhead troll who tours the blogs with his puerile comments should just be banned whereever he does it. But since he isn’t, I’ll just to do that to you.

            Banned 3 months as a surrogate troll and for reproducing this twit here.

            Lets hope this makes other dickheads think before they stroke their humour and cum with excitement pouring out of their brain. ]

        • Macro 5.1.2.3

          The GCSB are doing what they are paid for..

          No they are not paid to advance the careers of politicians. It does not advance our “international relations” or “economic well-being”. It was purely for the advantage of Tim. Such an action is simply corrupt. Just like almost everything else this sham of a government indulges in.
          Furthermore the defence of – “we were just doing our job” – is no defence at all – as the jailers in the concentration camps found out.

    • dv 5.2

      Spying on diplomatic communications is hardly petty point scoring.
      Morality should come into it Fisiani.

      • rhinocrates 5.2.1

        Psychologists call it projection – F is attributing his own motives to everyone else. He constantly carps on about how wonderful Key is “winning points” in short-term exchanges, reflexively mimics that – ineptly – and assumes that everyone else is an evil mirror image.

        Push his buttons if you like and you may get some amusement out of his reactions, but he’ll fail the Turing Test every time.

    • Stuart Munro 5.3

      No Fisiani I do not want Groser in the WTO. He would be better in prison, like most of the rest of the Gnats. But it’s easy to understand the use of the GCSB – no honest process would elect a Gnat as a dog catcher, much less a significant world trade figure.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.4

      Fisiani says it’s ok for the government to commit crimes. Does he endorse identity theft and copyright infringement too?

    • tracey 5.5

      Given his work on duping NZers into signing the TPP I have no doubt his being head of WTO is not int he best interest of NZers.

    • amirite 5.6

      From these questions fisiani posed the next logical question would be:
      Do you want that nice smiley man John Key as your PM or the devil incarnate that is the Labour-Green coalition?

      Bring on the Stasi.

    • tricledrown 5.7

      Fisianil.
      Stooping lower everytime you post what ever happened to honesty integrity moral high ground.
      Democracy and freedom is being continually underminded by John Key and cronies New Zealand’s reputation has been tarnished by the unbridled power Key is “corruptly”using.
      Dirty Double Dealing Corrupt lying Cheating Charlatans National Govt.

    • tricledrown 5.8

      Grosser!
      Need I say more.
      Wife abuser
      Drug abuser
      Democracy abuser
      Key
      Dirty lowlife politician with no scruples
      Will stop at nothing to get his way.
      Merrill Lynch behaviour corrupt insider trading .
      That John Keys past now catching up
      Karmas a bitch.

    • HumPrac 5.9

      fisiani, it seems your moral compass is not calibrated correctly.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.10

      Do you want Tim Groser to be the WTO Director General or not?

      Nope because he’s a fuken idiot and authoritarian schmuck as well.

      Do you want our top trade negotiator in this role?

      He’s not.

      Do You want our interests voiced at the top table in trade?

      Yep but that precludes anybody from National as they only represent the rich and the US.

      Traitors!

      That would be National and you.

    • felix 5.11

      “Do you want Tim Groser to be the WTO Director General or not?”

      Nah fizzy, I’d prefer someone with NZs interests at heart.

    • Treetop 5.12

      I wonder if the jet boat ride was even bugged?

      The life jackets would have been a good place.

      Entertained and spied on by the smiling assassin. (Gutter politics).

    • whateva next? 5.13

      “Best interest” you say? and who decides that? Not in my name thankyou, rather be left with integrity intact than in shreds, it goes alot further than a few dollars, especially at the end of your days.

    • hoom 5.14


      Are we the baddies?

      If we are doing this level of bad stuff to get it then no, I don’t want a NZer to be the WTO Director General.

      Traitors do illegal bad stuff to get that kind of position.

      In fact, even without that I don’t want an extreme Free Market/Globalistation apologist like him in WTO Director General regardless of where he comes from.

      I want a Fair Trade advocate there.
      It doesn’t matter where he comes from, its Fair Trade that is important not national interest.

    • McFlock 5.15

      Traitors?
      But fisi, if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear…

    • Murray Rawshark 5.16

      Do you want Tim Groser to be the WTO Director General or not?

      No

      Do you want our top trade negotiator in this role?

      Not if you mean Groser.

      Do You want our interests voiced at the top table in trade?

      That’d be a novel idea. Who could do it?

      Or are you prepared to put petty point scoring like the above ahead of the best interest of New Zealand?

      No. You’re the idiot who tries to do that.

      Traitors!

      Nope. We’re not the ones prepared to betray 90% of the country. Big fail today, Fizzy.

    • Wynston 5.17

      You are way behind the times mate! Groser missed out on the position!

  6. rawshark-yeshe 6

    begs the question why NSA and masters would want Groser in the top WTO job ?? How completely sold out are we already ?? Bstrds.

    and +100 Amirite: “Anyone who thinks this Government isn’t using the GCSB for its own political advantage is very naive.” ( But they know nothing about Sabin. Right.)

  7. tracey 7

    Each leak gives us more an dmore confirmation that the GCSB is not about terrorism but a secret back door subsidised service for large corporates.

  8. Corokia 8

    Would be interesting to know if the GCSB ran a similar targeted operation against the countries that we were competing against for the security council seat.

    • Anne 8.1

      I hope Winston Peters uses this in the final lead up to the byelection.

      The line of attack for all opposition parties should be:

      “If this government is happy to intercept the communications of individuals overseas for political gain, what are they prepared to do to NZers whom they feel threatened by, or who disagree with them?”

      This story brings the matter into a more personal context than the previous GCSB revelations, and could well be the catalyst for a change in voter attitude.

      • Sacha 8.1.1

        I trust Winston is pragmatic enough not to muddy the waters by raising an issue like this when there are ones like jobs, incomes, health, infrastructure that resonate far more with the voters of Northland than with those of Thorndon.

        • Anne 8.1.1.1

          Of course Sacha, but it’s possible a reporter may ask him to comment on the latest GCSB revelations. He has been vocal on the GCSB stories in the past so he might as well express an opinion.

          • Sacha 8.1.1.1.1

            He will be totally focused on winning that electorate. This issue will not achieve that. He’s smarter than some others on that front.

            • Anne 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Looking forward to Andrew Little leaving no Labour voter in any doubt where to cast their vote – mid week I hope. No use doing it before tomorrow’s cricket. No-one will be listening. 😉

              • Clemgeopin

                Today, he has given more hints. The best yet. I think the voters, be they left, right or centre will KNOW by now what is the best way to vote at THIS by-election for their own good and for the good of Northland.

                For this by-election, the SMARTEST thing any voter in Northland could do is to vote for Winston Peters and thus send a very telling message to the government and get maximum attention to their region.

                If they vote for Osborne and elect a Nat again, like they have stupidly/innocently/loyally done and been ignored, fooled and sucked in for the last nearly 70 years, then they are nuts! I hope they are smarter than that.

                http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/labours-northland-by-election-money-back-guarantee-2015032318

        • Clemgeopin 8.1.1.2

          +1

          The matter of illegal spying should be raised with the Inspector General, the police and parliament asap, but not muddy the waters and give the Nats to capitalise with more lies, spin and bullshit.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.2

      Absolutely sure the US itself is manipulating the elections for security council members, email surveillance would be one of those.

      But as its a country rather than a person thats up for election they have to use a different approach.

      Often countries essentially bribe other nations for their votes, we dont quite have the resources for that but if you are really clever you bring important people who could influence minor countries votes on this matter to NZ, and then hoover up their communications to see if they need ‘more persuading’ or just more money.

      Remember the secret tour of flash tourist spots for some countries UN delegations ?
      They probably had one of those mobile cellphone spoofing units that followed this group around the country to keep an eye on their ‘chatter”

  9. Corokia 9

    Guyon Espiner interupted Brent Edwards, who was pointing out that the GCSB claim to be under resourced and was questioning why are they spending money on this instead of ‘fighting terrorism’. Espiner cut him short to say Mike Moore was head of the WTO, bringing up the ‘its old news’ and ‘they did it too’ responses.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1

      Mike Moore was head of WTO from 1999 to 2002.

      The NSA email surveillance was in infancy back then and GCSB would have been on the outer due to the effects of the nuclear ships situation.

      You have to wonder about the reference to MM came about because of the dirty politics feed that Espiner would have been getting from Keys media office on this matter.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2

      Ferguson’s interview with Hager focused in part on the legality of the GCSB’s activities. They agreed that they haven’t broken any New Zealand law. For once.

      What about the laws of the countries whose citizens have been targeted?

      If some Icelander taps my phone I’d expect the courts to issue an international warrant for their arrest.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 9.2.1

        Its a jurisdiction thing. They arent tapping your phone as such and they arent doing it in Iceland.

        Its the meta data they are mostly interested in for the mass surveillance

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2.1.1

          Tell the judge.

          every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who intentionally intercepts any private communication by means of an interception device.

          NZ Crimes Act.

          PS: in this example (WTO) they collected a lot more than metadata. Can you show me a country in the world where it isn’t illegal?

          PPS: A New Zealand court has jurisdiction in New Zealand, which is where my phone is. That Icelander’s going down.

          • Colonial Rawshark 9.2.1.1.1

            The US is spreading the practice of bringing law enforcement agencies on side by giving them select access to intelligence databases. Law enforcement agents illegally gather intel on subjects/suspects and then later on conducts a “parallel reconstruction” of legally obtained evidence through normal policing methods which is eventually presented before the courts.

            What Bill Binney calls a “planned programmed perjury policy.”

            In other words, don’t expect such charges to ever be laid by law enforcement authorities who are benefiting from these same systems.

            It’s an utter undermining of democratic rule of law.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2.1.2

          The warrants, by the way, might be issued by the High courts of Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Jordan, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and South Korea.

          They would name John Phillip Key and un-named employees of the GCSB.

  10. Wonderpup 10

    NZ has turned from the quiet kid at the back of the class who didn’t speak, but when they did everyone listened, to the wee one behind the bully, waiting to get a kick in once their victim is down.

  11. ianmac 11

    In the old days “No Comment” stimulated interest and the questions became fiercer and more persistent. Now days it becomes “Ho hum.”
    What does it need to hold these people to account?

  12. ghostwhowalksnz 12

    One thing this post has got wrong is that they arent spying on true diplomatic communications.

    If you are sending sensitive diplomatic messages by standard email you need your head read.

    First they would use ultra high strength encryption probably using one time pads or some other similar techniques.

    Bit of course catching up on email chatter about select individuals could pick up leakages from the secure comms. And more interesting any gossip true or false would be very useful as well

    • HumPrac 12.1

      As with all encryption I do wonder who it is that is making such encryption programs, and whether many encryption programs come from the same company under a different banner and therefore giving a particular company access to MOST encrypted data worldwide.
      That way people feel they are safe and will provide even more information to the internet, particularly information they otherwise would not share publicly.
      They cannot provide source code for their encryption programs because it would compromise the programs security, however it is also insecure to NOT provide the source code due to the creator of the code being able to hide some counter-privacy code into the program.
      Either way, encryption is not even close to the “be all and end all” of digital security.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1.1

        Exactly.
        There is a lot of concern that NSA has its fingers in the pie regarding the development of standard computer encryption algorythms.

        You could say that no encryption method seems to be safe from tampering

      • Colonial Rawshark 12.1.2

        As with all encryption I do wonder who it is that is making such encryption programs, and whether many encryption programs come from the same company under a different banner and therefore giving a particular company access to MOST encrypted data worldwide.

        You are referring to the NSA “Bullrun” encrypt systems weakening and exploitation programme.

        “Basically, the NSA asks companies to subtly change their products in undetectable ways: making the random number generator less random, leaking the key somehow, adding a common exponent to a public-key exchange protocol, and so on,”“If the backdoor is discovered, it’s explained away as a mistake. And as we now know, the NSA has enjoyed enormous success from this program.” said cryptographer Bruce Schneier.

        However, people like Snowden, Binney and Greenwald believe that well chosen encryption methods still presents big (though not insurmountable) problems for NSA technology.

        http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/17577/intelligence/nsa-bullrun-program-false-perception-security.html

        http://www.propublica.org/article/the-nsas-secret-campaign-to-crack-undermine-internet-encryption

    • mickysavage 12.2

      I used the phrase “[p]resumably at least some of the intercepted communications were diplomatic” to try and cover this. I agree that in the best run embassies everything would be protected to within an inch of its life but I suspect that a lot of messages, for instance from cellphones, were not encrypted and still searchable. And metadata is king …

  13. Colonial Rawshark 13

    So they were willing to use XKEYSCORE and other such NSA tools to help a senior National politician win a major elected position.

    I wonder if they have done the same for any other senior National politicians.

    • Anne 13.1

      When NZ senior Opposition politicians – leaders in particular – are invited to take part in overseas events of a political or trade nature, are they safe from the prying eyes of the GCSB or one of their Five Eye partners?

      I would say the answer is… NO.

  14. nom 14

    Interesting that this document is dated 2013, well after the Snowden documents.

    I wonder where it was sourced from?

  15. infused 15

    Still not using secure mail huh. Well then.

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    So, National uses the state apparatus to increase their own power while kissing up to the US?

    • Rolf 16.1

      Soooo, how do you think they won the election? It is not only power, it is also business, spying to keep the power edge of US and their satellite states business. Terrorism protection is only the cover.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        So, what you’re saying there is that you support National’s corrupt practices because it’s just business?

        • McFlock 16.1.1.1

          …and he doesn’t want private corporation’s tax records made public because of privacy and safety fears. Complex character, is rolf.

        • Rolf 16.1.1.2

          No – what I am saying is that I am one of those who would love to clean up town, but how. Why do people vote for these corrupt practices.

          • Murray Rawshark 16.1.1.2.1

            As opposed to the transparency seen in China?

          • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1.2.2

            Why do people vote for these corrupt practices.

            Because that’s what they’ve been acculturated to. Capitalism is inherently corrupt but our culture holds it as good and so corruption, as seen in the National Party, is accepted as normal.

  17. Neil 17

    Nothing suprises me anymore of what Key has been sanctioning in regards to the GCSB.

  18. Melanie Scott 18

    KGB, FSB, GCSB – they all sound pretty similar to me, especially when it comes to ‘dirty tricks’. More pollonium anyone?

  19. Tracey 19

    dr mapp and mr groser say kiwis cant know about tpp details cos it is confidential so as to preserve negotiating positions. yet we are spying on everyone… so is usa… aussie… uk etc.. so no one has any secret positions.

    SO TELL US THE DETAIL OF TPP

  20. greywarshark 20

    Am I allwed to call myself Fisiani-2? Maybe the comments I put up with links to facts that we are all concerned about might get some interest. While F draws out so many who have wise and witty putdowns to his deliberate and sly offerings, I can spend a considerable time looking for details on google and putting up links on current important matters and don’t get even a slight bit of recognition.

    Is this a blog for concerned, informed people or a yard for releasing the doggy pets to run around with tongues hanging out. Yap yap. What a laugh Fisiani has. Every day. So are you commentators or common taters? And tell me what you think of me for criticising you. Don’t hold back will you.

    • Tracey 20.1

      feeling unloved grey?

      lots of people comment and have no replies…

    • Anne 20.2

      Have sympathy for greywarshark. Right wing trolls and other National Party apparatchiks are given way too much attention on this site to the detriment of more genuine reflections. By all means call them out when they tell lies or make unacceptable claims – as happened to Wayne Mapp yesterday – but don’t over-feed them which is exactly what they set out to achieve!

    • b waghorn 20.3

      Guilty as charged in my defence I’d like to say I can’t quite figure fisi out,
      Is it for real, is it a stirrer or devils advocate or a not that clever little t ——

      • tracey 20.3.1

        not for real… in th sense that he/she deliberately pens slogans designed to inflame.

    • freedom 20.4

      Don’t forget that many ‘lurkers’ read The Standard and never make a comment.

      Many people also come here specifically for the diversity of information that finds its way onto the boards and are not really interested in the dialogues.

      If there are topics you feel deserve more attention however, try putting together a guest post. A very good feature of the site. All in all though, I would agree it is perplexing at times, what comments garner attention and what is passed by.

      • greywarshark 20.4.1

        freedom
        Many people also come here specifically for the diversity of information that finds its way onto the boards and are not really interested in the dialogues.

        Diversity of information – from Fisiani and his ilk? Allowing RW to dominate the discourse means that time is not going into the diverse stuff that is serious, and that goes beyond who is going to get into parliament too.

        We know that there is a mountain to climb after that hill is gained. How can we prepare for the future unless we concentrate on understanding the options, trying to measure their various merits and that requires most of our attention. We didn’t do it in 1984 when we were blinded to what so-called Labour was ushering in. Now is our last chance to divert some of the bad stuff. We haven’t got much money, or time. so we have to think.

        And let Fisiani and other naysayers and uncaring bastards amuse themselves while we fulfil the role that I understand the people here have envisaged for themselves. And that is to be the fermenting tank for new ideas, for working through old ones and get them revised, refined and ready for use. Also for learning and applying our minds to critiquing what we have learned so we have useful, worthwhile, workable ideas ready that can form policies when people with integrity and nous have the opportunity to apply those characteristics. And this will happen if we stay staunch. Thinking about a left wing think tank is an idea. That is if there isn’t already such a thing that can be developed and funded to extend its expertise and range.

        And as for spending a lot of time preparing posts, some of them hardly get read at all judging by the comments. I have got lots to do at home, I am not amused, as Queen Vic is supposed to have said, at the society and culture we have today. So I work away at thinking and understanding but like everyone I have limited time.

        I am not a great believer in relying on the the magic silent majority. When the work to agitate and promote policies and action for a better government with better and practical policies is needed, will they appear and become vocal, roll up their sleeves and get alongside the little green/red hen? Or stay on the sidelines, cheering or sniping while they wait to join the winning side?
        edited

        • freedom 20.4.1.1

          Blogging is still evolving as a go-to source of information, or a place to promote action to bring change. Political blogs have the added responsibility of being a de-facto fourth estate. This is nothing less than a battle to get people to critically perceive the highly selective interpretation of reality that the MSM adopt as political information and/or news. Blogs are still fairly new to the community

          Many people are only beginning to adopt political blogs as an addition to their regular news gathering routine. It is fair to say The Standard has a very strong identity in that area. Any change in a community’s behaviour is a slow process. Any real world impacts are likely happening in conversations many degrees of separation away from when the information was sourced via the Standard [or similar].

          LPrent often makes figures available which clearly show the very large numbers of people who are visiting but not commenting. I have had numerous experiences out in the real world that people do read/think/react to what is written on these boards and that the efforts of those who contribute, in whichever way they can, are not in vain. The impact of these efforts might not be as tangible as people might like, but they exist.

          Discussing ‘widely understood’ concepts is one thing. Introducing new ideas or restructuring existing ones is even more difficult. So don’t feel discouraged if responses are not as immediate or as voluminous as expected. Revisit the concept, alter its presentation. Listen to what generates activity in other dialogues. As way of example, I have presented my ideas on reforming political donations in NZ a handful of times now. The concept of the EDRNZ has had barely any response, but I still push it forward now and again, because as an idea I feel it is worth the effort. It is a choice I make in a forum that is designed for such actions. Even with limited response from the community, I understand the core of the idea more fully and without exposing it to others I would have been denied that input. As a bonus, I get to let loose an idea into the under-brush, not knowing what interest it may raise, or when. Development of ideas is like the regeneration of native bush, an ongoing action where only time has the true perspective.

          Tramping through the bush are the humans. Amongst the more egregious are characters like fisiani, alwyn, He of the Beige etc. Then the hobby horse packs rumble through and you are not alone in tiring of their regularity. Nothing to do there but make the choice to interact, or not. At least, now and again they provide some unexpected entertainment and as Gosman has shown, they [mostly] have a sense of humour, he of the beige being the obvious exception.

          Positive changes are ongoing and abundant. A healthy community has little need for policing. Many of the recent rebukes, which are very few these days, have not come from the actions of mods per se, but from a physical shifting of attention, a turning away from those who have been less than helpful to the discussion. This is a positive constructive activity driven by the users’ focus, not mere reactions to a moderator’s decision. I am hopeful actions rebuked are lessons learned, for all concerned.

          Human life is built of days, and days have their tides. As these bulwarks to a constructive dialogue are eroded, ebb and flows in topic-focus are to be expected. The structure this erosion reveals displays a stability of purpose that all Standardistas should be proud of.

          What I choose to believe to exist, amongst all of that, is a genuine effort to reach as many people as possible with the most comprehensive collection of openly expressed viewpoints available to aid the change of thinking required to build a better New Zealand. If that takes a little time, it takes a little time.

    • mickysavage 20.5

      Sorry g like few others fisi brings out the worst in us …

  21. Puckish Rogue 21

    Oh noes! Our spies are spying!! For the betterment of NZ!!! Heavens to Murgatroyd!!!!

    I say well done to the GCSB, they’re obviously good at what they do (got NZ to the WTO) and, hopefully, they can do more that will help NZ

    This is what countries do and I have no doubt NZ is spying on Australia and vice versa when it comes to trade

    So is this the best Hagers panty-sniffing can come up with up?

    • felix 21.1

      The best? Nah, I think the best so far is that all of our communications are intercepted and stored forever.

      This is just another piece in the puzzle.

      Funny how you guys deny deny deny everything and claim Hager made it all up, then when presented with the evidence you do a 180 and insist that everybody knew about this stuff all along.

      Predictable, but still funny.

      • freedom 21.1.1

        exhibit A: Puckish Rogue August 18 2014 “Hager has an book full of smears, lies and half-truths out,”

        when pushed on “if it is not true, sue…’
        he does go on to say
        “Spin version: We don’t want to give Hager anymore oxygen

        Real version: If it comes to court then he’ll probably be proven correct whereas this way we can just discredit him so why take the chance”

        Open mike 18/08/2014

    • rawshark-yeshe 21.2

      panty sniffing ? really ? why not underpants sniffing ? says more about you than it does about Nicky Hager.

      (@puckish rogue #21)

    • Colonial Rawshark 21.3

      So is this the best Hagers panty-sniffing can come up with up?

      It’s very interesting that you bring up the subject of “panty sniffing” in relation to our Intelligence agencies. It has already been confirmed many times that workers with access to highly confidential official information systems can sometimes use that access to look up previous partners, spy on current partners, find out more about potential love interests etc.

      In the US press, this kind of activity was nicknamed “LOVEINT.” Kim Dotcom has also alleged that NZ intelligence agency workers made highly inappropriate sexual comments about his (separated) wife. One presumes that they had full access to all her electronic communications and devices.

      “Panty sniffing” indeed.

      • tracey 21.3.1

        Interesting that John Key said the Koreans didnt care their contender for WTO had been spied on by us (US), but no reporter bothered to ask the guy himself?

        • Colonial Rawshark 21.3.1.1

          I can tell you that it is very very unlikely (regardless of what niceties the South Koreans might have told MFAT) that they blew off this bad faith action from NZ as a nothing.

  22. Tautoko Mangō Mata 22

    This spying by the GCSB on other contenders for World Trade Organisation’s Director General illustrates the absence of any sense of common decency and has brought our country into disrepute. It is no different to the Government spying on David Cunliffe or Andrew Little or even on Winston Peters and who is to say that this is in fact not happening or has not already happened?

    Shame! Not in my name.

  23. Once was Tim 23

    As far as I’m concerned Fizz, we crossed the line a while ago (as well you probably know – even intelligence natives are starting to feel restless). Spin, BS and “everyone does it” (which they don’t) ain’t going to cut it as things progress, going forward, so-to-speak, as a matter of fek, ekshly.
    This isn’t use of the apparatus of State to keep sovereignty and people secure from the various definitions of tear-ism, but rather its a ‘club’ who think they’re born to rule completely misusing that apparatus – so arrogant they think they’ll never be found out.
    ….. and just because they’ve ‘lucked in’ at a time of a disengaged, dumbed down, compliant population, it doesn’t mean that’ll always be the case. Boy! wooden wann b in their shoes eh? – Not so much now but more like in ten years when their grave are being pissed on and their offspring ridiculed.

  24. Once was Tim 24

    If I was a Gnatzi round about now, I’d be starting to worry about my legacy and the ‘infliction’ on my offspring.
    Of course that’s not part of Gnatzis understandings and learnings (being as arrogant, ideologically driven, and obtaining ‘learnings’ parrot-fashion as they are).
    My how history repeats eh?

    (Note to the sage – error message on submission: Please fill in name, etc, etc – which they already were). Now I suspect positioning will be at the bottom of the thread.

    Hard life trying to create the perfect site eh? Pesky little bugs pop up authored by others in their bid to create the perfek environment.

  25. Naki man 25

    Here is a lefties point of view

    http://polity.co.nz/content/spying-groser

    • felix 25.1

      The thing about lefties, they’re just like lawyers, scientists, and historians. I can always find one to give a counter view.

      • tracey 25.1.1

        I guess that means from now on everything Rob Salmond writes will be accepted by Naki and all those on the Right?

        • felix 25.1.1.1

          Yep, and it also means I can point to anything said by Rodney Hide and Naki has to agree with it.

  26. Whateva next? 26

    I hope we aren’t listening in to other competitors in the cricket World Cup team talks…..after all it would be legal. Hollow victory that would be.

    • Murray Rawshark 26.1

      The GCSB is allowed to spy on foreigners. Winning tournaments held in Aotearoa is important to NAct, so the boys will be spying.

  27. McGrath 27

    Do the non-political public honestly care about the GCSB though?

    • Anne 27.1

      Nope. Most of them don’t understand or even want to understand. But you never know, over time something might seep through into their collective subconscious. It’s possible…

    • Naki man 27.2

      Only that traitor Hager and a few other paranoid nutters care about the GCSB.

      • felix 27.2.1

        Hey Naki, the traitors are the people handing all our communications over to a foreign power, not the people showing us how that happens.

      • Pascals bookie 27.2.2

        Are Hager’s SAS sources traitors too, tough guy?

      • Colonial Rawshark 27.2.3

        Only that traitor Hager and a few other paranoid nutters care about the GCSB.

        The GCSB is an integral element of the multibillion dollar FVEY surveillance network. This network which has the American NSA at its centre, has been greatly expanded under the pretence of fighting “terrorism” but evidence shows that it is being used in extremely undemocratic and underhanded ways against ordinary citizens, legitimate political groups and even friendly or allied nations in economic or diplomatic negotiations.

        This kind of unbridled power is toxic to any democracy and we shouldn’t allow it to happen on our watch.

      • Anne 27.2.4

        @ Naki fella

        Thanks for providing indisputable evidence for my 27.1. Much appreciated.

      • whateva next? 27.2.5

        Oh don’t you wish? Wacky man

    • infused 27.3

      Not when it’s for the good of NZ, like in this case.

  28. tracey 28

    “He said surveillance on the Indonesian candidate was “truly repugnant for our long-term relationship” with the world’s largest Muslim country. Terence O’Brien – former UN ambassador, ambassador to the WTO-Gatt and president of the UN Security Council – was stunned. “What on earth were they trying to do?” asked Mr O’Brien, a diplomat of 40 years.” NZ herald today

    I guess he is just a “screaming left-wing conspiracy theorist”

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