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Greenwald on the GCSB

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, September 13th, 2014 - 152 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags: , ,

Key resignation

Glenn Greenwald is in the country and has created a splash by alleging on TV3 that the GCSB is heavily involved in spying on our neighbours as well as engaging in mass surveillance of ordinary New Zealanders.  Greenwald is the reporter who was trusted with the Edward Snowden data, taken from the NSA in America.  No specifics have been released yet.  No doubt some details will be released during Monday night’s Kim Dotcom meeting.

The Herald reported last year …

Prime Minister John Key says he and the head of GCSB would resign if the spy agency were found to have conducted mass surveillance.

He made the comment to reporters at Parliament in the light of assurances that the changes to the GCSB Act 2003 would not mean mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

Asked if he and GCSB chief Ian Fletcher would resign if there were mass surveillance, he said yes.

“But the facts of life are it won’t happen.”

It will be interesting to compare this statement with the Greenwald revelations.

Stuff has reported on the interview.

“The government made a variety of statements in connection with the new spying law that it wanted and was enacted last year to try and assuage the fears of New Zealanders about what the government was doing, including  things like we don’t engage in mass surveillance and we don’t target New Zealanders indiscriminately unless they’re involved in terrorism or cyber crimes and the like.

“And one of the things we wanted to do was investigate the truth of those statements and do the reporting that would let the New Zealand citizens know whether or not their government deceived them about what their spy agencies are doing and I can tell you – although I can’t tell you what the reporting is yet – I can tell you there are serious questions about whether the current government was at all truthful with its citizens in connection with that bill.”

Greenwald commented on the use of metadata by the Government.

Greenwald said he knew for certain that the New Zealand government engaged in “extraordinary amounts of analysis of metadata”. ” Meaning whose talking to who, for how long, where they are when they speak, on a massive indiscriminate scale not just internationally but of New Zealanders as well.”

New Zealand spent an “extraordinary amount of resource” for a country its size on electronic surveillance and “every single thing that the NSA does…involves NZ directly. They are full fledged allies of this effort.”

Of further concern is the potential effect the revelations may have on relationship with foreign nations.

“New Zealand spies on a variety of countries on behalf of the US.  That’s the reporting we are still working on,….but I can tell you for certain….the NSA is incapable of accessing certain countries because of hostile relations they have with those countries and they use a variety of allies including New Zealand to spy on those countries for them.”

Asked if that might include China, Greenwald responded: “The GCSB spies on both hostile countries and allies for the US and the United Kingdom as well. Countries that probably New Zealanders would expect…..and [others] New Zealanders would say ‘why are we spying on countries like this in a western democracy’?’.

The TV3 video is not up yet but I will add it when it appears.  Meanwhile Twitter is having a lot of fun.


152 comments on “Greenwald on the GCSB”

  1. karol 1

    I wonder how much Team Key knew or guessed that Greenwald may be dumping something explosive on Monday?

    The reason Key will only debate for a half hour against Cunliffe?

    • Anne 1.1

      And the reason for the black ops campaign… to so discredit the opposition parties and Cunliffe in particular that the sheeple will go into denial even if it’s revealed John Key is a secret NSA/CIA agent sent back to NZ to lay the ground work for a complete US takeover of the country. Oops… its already happening – TPPA.

      • cogito 1.1.1

        As per the well known quote: ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know’.

        Describes the majority of Kiwis unfortunately…

      • Rosie 1.1.2

        Lol Anne, I was joking yesterday about NZ becoming another state of the USA perhaps being the thing that Key is referring to when he comes out with that most curious statement “We are on the cusp of something very special”

        • Rich

          That would imply citizenship. I don’t think Key would think that suitably ‘cusp of something special’ for most of us. No, I would be thinking plantation rather than senate or congress.

          • Rosie

            Hence the joking Rich.

            Jokes aside, Key has repeated this phrase twice (at least to my ears). When you consider the Nat govts eagerness in regard to TPPA, the passing of the GCSB and TICS Act’s last year and the selling of our employment legislation to Hollywood, “being on the cups of something special” sounds incredibly ominous.

            I would be sincerely interested in what Key means by this statement.

    • the shitstorm should be at tornado-level by wed..

      ..if everything goes as hoped..

    • Rosie 1.3

      “I wonder how much Team Key knew or guessed that Greenwald may be dumping something explosive on Monday?”

      Exactly, one can’t but help wonder.

      I had initially thought that three debates was adequate and wasn’t going to watch the last one, but everything could change by then and the discussion may deviate drastically from it’s original intended path.

      Maybe Key will even pull out all together if Monday night’s evidence/information is damning enough? Really hoping the info is absolutely rock solid, and there is no way he can squirm his way out of it in his usual flippant manner.

      What a strange time our small young country finds itself in.

      • Zorr 1.3.1

        If Glenn Greenwald is involved, it’s his credibility on the line. He is the consummate journalist and I seriously doubt he would risk his professional career over something that wasn’t completely rock solid.

    • bearded git 1.4

      Cunliffe should publicly offer to debate the GCSB issue for the extra half hour

      • ExStatic 1.4.1

        Cunliffe has a big problem. This was going on well before this National government. Previous Labour governments have done exactly the same and Cunliffe has been a minister.
        Only the Greens can be relied on to cut this spying out.

        • Tracey

          clark was mi ister in charge of sis and gcsb and by all accounts, unlike key she didnt delegate.

          Cunliffe can only be pm with the greens. He cant just keep the status quo and this is one thing i dont believe the greens will compromise

        • phillip ure

          @ exstatic..

          ..i agree that this didn’t start with key..

          ..labour have their justified degreee of fear over what greenwald might reveal..

          ..the greens and internet/mana are the only ‘clean’ parties..

          ..the only ones who can be relied upon to reform..

  2. dv 3

    I means my office?

  3. cogito 4

    Anyone know if the Dotcom “Moment of Truth” on Monday is going to be livestreamed?

    Also, on same topic, the Radio Live interview with Robert Amsterdam is worth listening to http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Kim-Dotcoms-The-Moment-Of-Truth-pre-show-interview-with-lawyer-Robert-Amsterdam/tabid/506/articleID/54477/Default.aspx

  4. Tom Gould 5

    Even if some chook somewhere has Key on tape saying directly and unambiguously, and in context, and with witnesses with signed affidavits, that he will resign, the Tory machine will already be primed and ready to dissemble and obfuscate and character assassinate, full noise. The spied-upon public don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell.

    • yeshe 5.1

      Let’s recall the obsequious ‘they’ said that about the nuclear ships coming in as well, until they didn’t.

      If Kiwis discover and see it proven that Key has been underarm bowling to them this whole time, NZ will rise and turn on anyone associated with it, with no mitigating factors. It’s what we do.

      We have seen it before, and I pray to see it again.

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        dont be so sure, many kiwis believe this idea of nothing to hide nothing to fear so look at my emails…

        • yeshe

          I agree many believe that .. but a majority didn’t and protested before the new law passed. I think if the deception is proven ? Very different story then.

          Have we become trained to absolute apathy ? Ugh.

          My vain hopes again coming through … let’s see what this way comes in the next couple of days …

          We might get to see some major squirm and deny !!

      • Mike 5.1.2

        “NZ will rise and turn on anyone associated with it, with no mitigating factors” Wishful thinking I’m afraid. Kiwis just don’t do what you say they do. If they did we would have already seen this after the Slater affair.

        The NZ and the western public in general are almost completely brainwashed by the phony war on terror, and the loss of privacy associated with the eternal vigilance needed to protect our freedoms and democracy, blah, blah, blah. Hope you’re right though!

        • yeshe

          Mike — look on the ‘Slater affair’ as the kindling and fire starter giving hot glowing embers to what is being stoked here. There is an unease ready to explode imho.

          The nuclear free issue was the same … no way ever it was going to happen for the whole country, just impossible to imagine … until the Rainbow Warrior was bombed in Auckland, and the country united in a heartbeat that has never trembled. ( Brash tried and was eggy all over the face by lunchtime !)

          I really hope you’re wrong and I am right on this one !! Cheers 🙂

  5. for those interested..i have been a greenwald fanboy for a very long time..

    ..so my greenwald archive is extensive..and stretches back for quite a few yrs..


    greenwald was one of the first to sound the alarm about the upcoming great financial crash..

    ..and he and roubini..and a couple of others..are how/why whoar was not far behind them in issuing those warnings..

    ..(i have six plus pages of greenwald links..

    ..and my first link to greenwald was in feb 2007..)

  6. Rolf 7

    That New Zealand is operating as a spying agency for the US spying on China and Chinese business is well known in China, as well as that New Zealand is covering up past bloopers and misdemeanors in China. Even WINZ send out forms for Chinese pensioners who moved back to China and receiving Super in China requiring them to spy on relatives and report income and assets and relationships. This is creating an increasing animosity towards New Zealand and its export, similar to the historical hatred towards Japan, and it is anchored on grassroots level. Don’t buy products from these US lackeys and Quislings. It I poison.

    [lprent: That is an assertion without any backing. You are placed on auto-moderation until you either provide a link to some credible backing or I put you on a permanent ban after a few days.

    I see that you have made similar unbacked assertions before about other topics. Perhaps you should read the policy. ]

    • weka 7.1

      “Even WINZ send out forms for Chinese pensioners who moved back to China and receiving Super in China requiring them to spy on relatives and report income and assets and relationships.”

      Fairly serious accusation that needs some kind of back up.

    • ianmac 8.1

      Thanks OOB. Watched all 3 interviews. Greenwald credible. Cunliffe credible not on Greewald. Key not on Greenwald but very shifty and drifted all over the place.
      Be very interesting Monday night.
      But the National lot with the help of GCSB and interested parties in FBI will have a plan to combat Greenwald. They will have some nasty stuff lined up to discredit him. The Dirty Tricks Brigade have too much to loose.

  7. Valleyman 9

    Key will claim its all lies & a left wing conspiracy also claiming the left are trying to smear the govt. I wonder how his mate Obama will take to being called a liar by key.

  8. Paul 10

    … easy for Key …. what do you mean by mass survellience? … childs play for him to wiggle out of this

    …. the real concern (although not Keys concern) is the undermining of privacy and therefor democracy

    • yeshe 10.1

      It wasn’t me; ekshully, it was my office at the end of the day ….

      Seriously, I think he has used up his ‘wiggle’ room with NZ .. let’s see.

  9. Bill 11

    From ‘the Herald’ on 3rd Dec 2013 –

    Prime Minister John Key yesterday sought another assurance from GCSB director Ian Fletcher that the spy agency had not been involved in wholesale collection of metadata on New Zealanders – and was given it.

    As Greewald has pointed out in his interview on ‘The Nation’ this morning, the crucial word in the above is ‘wholesale’ as that would mean collecting absolutely everything. So, the GCSB and Key can honestly say there has been no wholesale collection of metadata.

    However, on the question of mass collection or widespread collection or indiscriminate collection….

    • Tracey 11.1

      So the minister responsible for nothing cos he delegated it all, might just throw fletcher under the bus…

      I mean a spy boss who lies.. Whodathinkit

    • weka 11.2

      I wouldn’t take wholesale to mean absolutely everything. My dictionary says things like extensive, widespread, mass.

      But yeah, expect Key to pull out his own dictionary.

    • Molly 11.3

      He’s also left himself another “out” with:

      “Prime Minister John Key yesterday sought another assurance from GCSB director Ian Fletcher that the spy agency had not been involved in wholesale collection of metadata on New Zealanders – and was given it.”

      The GCSB does not have to get involved with the collection of data, if the other members of the Five Eyes Network is doing it for them.

  10. cogito 12

    Key has described Greenwald as “[Kim] Dotcom’s little henchman”.


    Key is slowly but surely digging his own grave.

    • Sable 12.1

      Almost a little like one of those tedious IQ tests:

      “Greenwald” is to “Dotcom” what “Keys” is to:

      (1) A monkey
      (2) A turnip
      (3) Obama
      (4) Nixon

    • BLiP 12.2

      Dotcom’s little henchman

      I’ve mentioned it before and I will be mentioning it again . . .

      Tory Ideology 101: When confronted with undeniable facts and/or irrefutable logic, apply ad homs

      . . . unfortunately, the fallacy is seldom exposed by the MSM. Still, it is a good indication that John Key has nothing else to fall back on. Usually, he just lies and smiles, leavng the injection of filth into the narrative to the likes of Cameron Slater and David Farrar.

    • Tracey 12.3

      wouldnt it be cool if a reporter asked by way of follow up

      ” henchman as in slater does your dirty work..or something else?”

    • weka 12.4

      “Key is slowly but surely digging his own grave.”

      Who thinks Key already has his bags packed?

  11. BLiP 13

    . . . I can tell you there are serious questions about whether the current government was at all truthful with its citizens in connection with that bill . . .

    Huh? There can be no question about whether National Ltd™ was lying to us in connection with the GCSB bill, and related matters. The serious questions should be about how extensive that lying was and why John Key gets away with it. Here’s a sampling of his lies on the topic to date . . .

    Iain Rennie came to me and recommended Fletcher for the GCSB job

    I told Cabinet that I knew Ian Fletcher

    I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for GCSB job I phoned a life-long friend to tell him to apply for the position

    I told Iain Rennie I would contact Fletcher

    I haven’t seen Ian Fletcher in a long time.

    I did not mislead the House (13)

    I have no reason to doubt at this stage that Peter Dunne did not leak the GCSB report

    I called directory service to get Ian Fletcher’s number

    the new legislation narrows the scope of the GCSB

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

    because the opposition is opposed 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 laws need to be extended to protect prive 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 explanding the activities of the GCSB with this new law

    cyber terrorists have attempted to gain access to information about weapons of mass destruction held on New Zealand computers

    the law which says the GCSB cannot spy on New Zealanders is not clear

    it totally incorrect that the Government effectively through GCSB will be able to wholesale spy on New Zealanders

    we self identified that there was a problem with the GCSB spying on Kim Dotcom

    the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was an isolated incident

    The advice I have had in 4 years as a Minister is that in no way ever has there been an indication of unlawful spying

    the Ministerial Warrant signed by Bill English did not cover anything up

    I wasn’t briefed about the raid on Kim Dotcom’s home.

    first I heard I heard about Kim Dotcom was on 19 January 2012

    first I heard about the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was in 17 September

    I did not mislead the House (14)

    I won’t be discussing Kim Dotcom during my Hollywood visit.

    The Human Rights Commission couldn’t get its submission on the GCSB legislation in on time.

    it would cost too much to for the police and SIS to carry out the spying on New Zealanders that this new legislation will permit

    critics of the GCSB legislation, including the Law Society, the Human Rights Commission, and the Privacy Commission, are all uninformed

    no, I did not mislead the House (15)

    I do not know how Mr Henry is conducting the Enquiry

    no, I did not mislead the House (16)

    the Henry Enquiry had permission to view Ministers’ emails

    no, I did not mislead the House (??)

    we do not spy on journalists

    the passing of phone records to the Henry Enquiry was an error on the part of a contractor

    I wasn’t aware that my own Chief of Staff was instructing Parliamentary Services to hand over information concerning journalist Andrea Vance

    National Ltd™ has never tried to impinge on the role of the media

    I had nothing to do with information on a journalist being handed over to the inquiry into the leaking of the GCSB report

    the terms of the enquiry made it clear to everyone that it was only the phone records of parliamentary staff and ministers that were to be provided

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

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

    the Henry Enquiry did not ask for phone and email records

    no, I did not mislead the House (17)

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

    the GCSB needs to spy on New Zealanders because there are al-Qaeda terrorists in New Zealand

    the GCSB is not sharing meta-data with the NSA

  12. Sable 14

    Oh well no surprise really. I’m sure Labour will be quick to put a stop to it if elected…..LOL

    • Tracey 14.1

      if the only way labour can govern is with help from the greens, they will have to change it… LOL

  13. b waghorn 15

    Considering a large portion of our countries income comes from Asia , if the gcsb / key are spying on them it’s a hell of a gamble just to please the yanks

    • they did say that monday nites’ reveal will create international headlines…

      ..and i wd guess they wd be detailed/proven revelations of our spooks/govt. spying on our friends/allies/trading-partners..

      ..as lackeys/spear-carriers of the americans..

      ..this story has more legs than a centipede..

    • Tracey 15.2

      who knows, we might be doing some spying for China…


  14. Tracey 16

    Are these guys giving advance previews to ensure that it begins seeping into the consciousness of the electorate before 20th?

    • ianmac 16.1

      Perhaps someone should slip a secret message to Whaleoil saying that at high noon Greenwald has ridden into town and is armed! He will post on it. That way MSM will be sure to explode into a frenzy.

  15. Ok we have a convicted hacker and criminal ( dotcom) , 2 hired well paid left wing mercenaries (greenwood and asterdam) and some guy hiding out in an Ecuadorean embassy on rape charges all trying to influence the nz election so the criminal hacker and thief does not get extradited. Make a good plot for a comedy

    • ianmac 17.1

      Not to mention a reddelusion dwelling in a dark world of doubt, pessimism, cynicism and an all abiding love of the Prince John of Darkness. “But Prince John is the Father of God and he can do no wrong,” wails reddelusion.

    • Tracey 17.2

      which makes you wonder why farrar and hooton are bothering to keep spreading lies, what with no one caring…

      Why hooton supplied hagers street name to someone suggesting some people who wanted to harm hager needed to know where he lived

      Why people so concerned about criminal behaviour will vote for a party that has 17% of its MPs convicted for fraud or deception

      I am pleased to read someone on the right cares so much about victims of sexual assault. I did a basic search and found no posts from you expressing outrage at roastbusters…

    • Paul 17.3

      Greenwald won the Pulitzer Prize.
      He is a renowned international journalist.

      Your source, Cameron Slater, can make no such claims.

      • Tracey 17.3.1

        so thats internationally recognised hager and greenwald as journalists versus slater, farrar and hooton, all paid to spread their particularly warped version of “information”.

    • BLiP 17.4

      More like a tragedy that those heroes should be so vilified by governments and those who benefit from silencing dissent so ably assisted by others such as yourself too craven or lazy to be actively concerned.

      I note that you are reduced to applying ad homs in response to the information being revealed. Such a tactic is an automatic FAIL in debate but I am more worried about what it indicates in terms of your cognitive functioning. Shooting the messenger is a thought-stopping practise which holds you back from discerning the implications the message carries. Perhaps the implications of Mr Greenwald’s message is too frightening for you to contemplate but shutting them out from your consideration and encouraging other to also dismiss them doesn’t make those implications go away. Just sayin’.

      Anyhow, get some help.

    • Little Boy Bleu 17.5

      Redd, I’ll see your ‘convicted hacker and criminal, 2 hired well-paid left-wing mercenaries and some guy hiding out in an Ecuadorean embassy’ and raise it with a no-morals, lying, heartless money trader, a deceitful, shameless sacked minister, a devious, corrupt Govt and a degenerate, money-loving National Party which wouldn’t know compassion if it tripped over it.

  16. No great fan of slater tend to agree with herald writer today he over inflates his importance and influence. Pulitzer Prize or not greenwald is not coming here as an impartial journo, nor can you claim Hagar an impartial journalist. The rest of my post above is just stating fact, You got to admit the whole thing is a bit farcical and thats how most of nz see it, barring the exclusive enlightened hard left prancing about in morale indignation Can you imagine the morale outrage if the right tried to pull a stunt like this

    • Inky 18.1

      If you want to talk about impartial journalists, Reddulsion, how about a comment on the biased BS poured all over Cunliffe since he became Labour leader?

      Do you ever read the Herald political commentators? Are you aware they have had a great deal to do with Slater? Did you not see John Armstrong’s call for Cunliffe to resign over a nothing letter written 11 years earlier?

      Have you seen any commentator call on Key to resign over his many, far more serious and real brain fades?

      You’ve not detected the concerted mainstream media campaign that has pushed the Nats all the way in this election?

      Have you not heard Key’s mate Hosking literally describe Cunliffe as an idiot (this supposed serious political commentator)?

      And have you not seen how after that insult, and other venom directed his way by Hosking, how Cunliffe was forced to accept him as the bloke running the debates?

      Yet you have the nerve to describe GREENWALD as impartial? Spare me!
      I bloody well give up. Your type either never get it or never care.

  17. Come on blip if every one just agreed with each other it would be a pretty boring site I only give advise not insults when responses to.arguements are just tired old cliches or lack any real thought

    • BLiP 19.1

      Come on blip if every one just agreed with each other it would be a pretty boring site I only give advise not insults when responses to.arguements are just tired old cliches or lack any real thought

      Now I am even more concerned. Your comment is insensible, displays that you do not understand the difference between the ad hom fallacy and insults, accuses others of that which it is you do yourself while also, once again, shows you are unable to deal rationally about the subject under discussion.

      I kind of sympathise with you in that what Mr Greenwald is revealing is frightening for those who’s belief system is threatened by it. Fear is a powerful emotion and has been deliberately generated by those who seek to justify the clamping down on our civil liberties. Terrorism is the new spectre used now in place of such previous bogeymen as communists but it is the “big lie” because those who ostensibly are in place to protect us are the ones carrying out the terrorism. And its terrorism on a massive scale, far more subtle than bombs and beheadings. It is psychological terrorism designed to undermine cognitive faculties and replace them with thought-stopping slogans and emotional reactions.

      From a graveyard humour point of view, its kinda ironic that this terrorism is being orchestrated by the Right Wing and the ones most likely to suffer from it first are those wth a Right Wing tendency. The lols don’t stop there. The average person with a Right Wing tendency spouts all manner of platitudes about how the government should not interfere with the lives of its citizens and how, just like the Easter Bunny delivers chocolate eggs, the “invisible hand” of the market will deliver all a society requires. Yet, it is, by a huge margin, those people with Right Wing tendencies who support the government’s ability to monitor and record every keystroke and every phone call each citizen makes. How much more intrusive can a government be?

      To use your term, its “arguements” like these which are under discussion and they require real thought yet it is you who is throwing out clichés. That you don’t realise it or cannot face it is really, really sad because we are going to need everyone, including yourself, if we are to resolve the issue and bring government back into line. My idea of a perfect resolution with differ from yours but, together, we can come up with a satisfactory solution if we work together. Idealistic, I know, and beyond your abilities to understand, unfortunately, but never mind. I don’t blame you personally for having been terrorised into a blithering fight/flight state of mind but you might want to consider not interfering in our discussions.


      • Colonial Viper 19.1.1

        Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

        • greywarbler

          Reddelusion 19
          We don’t, most of us, take part on this site because we want to take part in a lively argument. That’s just fiddling while Rome is burning. And it’s risible, indefensible, and deadly self-indulgence which is beyond contempt.

  18. cogito 20

    “Mr Greenwald’s hit back on Twitter, questioning if Mr Key thinks “bizarre ad hominem attacks” will make the facts, or the documents he has, disappear”

    High noon…! LIAR KEY IS GOING DOWN.

    • Paul 20.1

      Key is going to struggle to deal with Greenwald if all he’s got are his larrikin jokey approach to issues of civil liberties in this country.

    • emergency mike 20.2

      “Dotcom’s little henchman”?

      haha how pathetic is that? What else John? Does he has a trenchcoat and scar? Bottle of poison in his pocket? How stupid does he think New Zealanders are to be swayed by crap like that about a Pulitzer prize winning journalist?

      Ok don’t answer that.

  19. Paul 21

    John Key in the Guardian.

    “Key has also been accused by US journalist Glenn Greenwald of not being truthful with voters about the government’s surveillance of its citizens. Greenwald previously worked for the Guardian and was instrumental in the publication of the Edward Snowden National Security Agency leaks.

    Greenwald is in New Zealand for an event organised by Internet party founder Kim Dotcom on Monday which is billed as an exposé of the extent of NZ’s role in the “Five Eyes” intelligence pact with Australia, the US, Britain and Canada.”


  20. risildowgtn 22

    Patrick Gower ‏@patrickgowernz 1m

    I have major new developments to do with @ggreenwald, mass spying and John Key – @3NewsNz 6pm. #decision14

    • Paul 22.1

      Sure this isn’t Gower self promoting?

    • weka 22.2

      The last time Gower tweeted major developments it was a half a percent rise in some poll or other for some party 🙄

      • karol 22.2.1

        This time he’d had a long phone chat with Key, and Key is standing firm, and says he’ll release documents to show GCSB doesn’t do mass surveillance of Kiwis – Gower is now Key’s little messenger.

        This tweet from Chris Trotter:

        Key’s release will serve to blunt and/or divert media scrutiny in final week of campaign. That’s all it has to do. Judgement will be tribal.

        • emergency mike

          Did you notice in the 3News piece how strongly Gower stressed how ‘crucial’ it was that people grasp that Key was going to produce a piece of paper that would prove Greenwald wrong?

        • Tom Jackson

          It depends.

          Key’s problem is that he said all sorts of stuff before June 2013 in response to criticisms of the GCSB over illegal surveillance and Dotcom. Of course neither he nor anybody else could have guessed what Edward Snowden was about to do, so Key no doubt felt free to lie his ass off because he reasoned that secrets would remain secret. The Kitteridge report was also leaked to the media well in advance of Snowden’s revelations.

          If there are Snowden documents showing that the Kitteridge Report and Key’s statements were nothing more than a veil of bullshit, then he’s going to have a tough time of it.

          Remember that one of Greenwald’s favourite tricks is to leak information to extract denials while withholding further information that is then used to show that the denials were dishonest.

        • Zolan

          The burden of proof is on Greenwald.
          Key has verbally refuted a specific premise.

          If Greenwald’s case depends on that premise, but doesn’t prove it, then the omission will be glaring to everyone, having been flagged in advance. And any deficiency in Key’s documentation will be cold gruel for critics.

          If Key’s defence is a strawman with no logical relevance to Greenwald’s case, then indeed “judgement will be tribal,” unless the case is impossible to deny or minimise.

          Key’s strategy deflates/diverts most scenarios, and can only backfire if Greenwald proves the refutation false, which of course is not a risk Key would have taken.

  21. karol 23

    So, can we now call Gower, “Key’s little messenger”?

    He says he talked to Key at length on the phone today.

    • Paul 23.1

      What about interviewing him Mr Gower?
      Asking hard questions.
      Holding power to account.
      That’s what journalists do.

      Courtiers on the other hand….

      • emergency mike 23.1.1

        What’s the bet that Key produces a piece of paper that states that NZ spy agencies are not to spy on NZers. He will waive it around and call it proof that Greenwald is wrong. While ignoring the question of whether other five eyes partners spied on NZers, and NZ’s spy agencies, as five eyes members, just happen to have access to that data…

        • Tom Jackson

          When has Greenwald been wrong about this stuff?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          There’s a graphic somewhere in the Snowden docs that illustrates the hardware topography.

          The diagram implies that all the surveilled material goes to the NSA prior to being distributed to the partner agencies.

  22. Paul 24

    We shouldn’t be worrying about Nanny State in NZ.
    It’s Big Brother who’s watching you.

    Kind of ironic our right wing friends got so twisted about lightbulb controls and school tuck shop food, yet are happy to accept a surveillance state.

    Can any of our right wing visitors on this site not see the glaring contradiction in their stances.

  23. Potato 25

    Dear Mr Key,
    Don’t bother resigning. Next Saturday, we’ll sack you instead !!

  24. Paul 26

    TVNZ repeats Key’s description of Greenwald as “Dotcom’s little henchman”.
    Not the breaker of the Snowden story or a Pulitzer Prize winner.
    Pathetic news reporting.

  25. Richies McCLaw 27

    Key never said anything. It was his office.

  26. Richies Mcclaw 28

    Key never made any promises. It was all his office.

    • don’t you mean ‘orifice’..?

      • KJT 28.1.1

        Key is probably telling the truth about not mass spying on New Zealanders. He gets the USA to do it for him.

        • phillip ure

          somehow i don’t think keys’ ‘henchman’-sneer will be able to wash away what will be revealed on mon nite…

          ..utu-monday..i’m calling it…

          ..and that is group-‘utu’..

          ..we can all share in it…

        • ianmac

          That may be his out. We spy on USA while they spy on NZ. Then swap results. Tricky stuff!

        • Tom Jackson

          That may well be the case. Won’t fly with the public.

          • karol

            Didn’t Key once say the GCSB doesn’t get other 5 Eyes agencies to spy on Kiwis for the GCSB?

            • emergency mike

              “Didn’t Key once say the GCSB doesn’t get other 5 Eyes agencies to spy on Kiwis for the GCSB?”

              Yes but if those other agencies went ahead and spied on kiwis anyway, well, that’s not the GCSB’s doing now is it? That they, as 5 eyes members, would happen to have access to that data would just be a coincidence.

  27. Weepus beard 29

    Lisa Owen (3:36): [quoting from the PM] “In terms of wholesale collection of metadata about New Zealanders, that hasn’t taken place. I have asked the agency, the GCSB, and that is the confirmation I have had.”

    GG (3:56): What I can tell you for certain is that the Government does engage in extraordinary amounts of analysis of metadata … on a massive, indiscriminate scale, not just internationally but of New Zealanders as well.

    GG (04:33): New Zealand spends an extraordinary amount of resources for a country of this size on surveillance.

    GG (06:15): One of the most interesting parts of the revelations for me is that it is not just about spying but about democracy and the honesty with which these governments treat their citizenry.

    GG (07:05): There is also a question of democratic subversion – of controlling one’s own citizenry by knowing what it is that they are saying and doing.

    GG (8:18): [terrorism] is the pretext and not the actual reason that this spying is taking place

    GG (08:55): What I can tell you is that the statement that the GCSB made to NZers last year that we don’t engage in mass surveillance aimed at NZers is not truthful.

    Some important points from the Greenwald interview by Lisa Owen.

    This one is particularly worrying to any free, socially responsible person in this country:

    GG (07:05): There is also a question of democratic subversion – of controlling one’s own citizenry by knowing what it is that they are saying and doing.

    • Puddleglum 29.1

      Also interesting is the point at 3:56:

      GG (3:56): What I can tell you for certain is that the Government does engage in extraordinary amounts of analysis of metadata … on a massive, indiscriminate scale, not just internationally but of New Zealanders as well.

      That statement is not about the GCSB (or other government agency) collecting the metadata. Who collects it is irrelevant – what is relevant is that a New Zealand agency of government is analysing information about New Zealanders with no reason to do so.

      How the collection is done is a minor technical matter. Far more substantive is that the NZ government is making use of a massive and steady stream of data about New Zealanders.

      After all, if the GCSB collected the data but never, ever looked at it (or allowed others to look at it) then no harm would be done (apart from a waste of resources). Let’s remind ourselves that the reason for not wanting the GCSB to collect the information is the assumption that it would and could be analysed and then used.

      Greenwald is basically saying that it is being analysed. That’s what ultimately matters, irrespective of how it is collected.

      • Anne 29.1.1

        Any thoughts on which agency is doing the analysing Puddleglum?

        It could of course be another Five Eyes country that’s doing the analysis and then making it available to the GCSB to pass on to the National government. You can be rest assured that in the event of a Labour led government being elected, very little of it would be made available to them. In fact, I doubt they would want it because it cuts right across the principle that people should be allowed to live their lives without fear of interference.

        • Puddleglum

          Hi Anne,

          Greenwald refers to ‘the government’ doing the analysis which I presume means an agency of the government. Obviously I don’t know what Greenwald has access to but, from his words, it sounds like the data is made available to NZ agencies (presumably the GCSB) to analyse. (Who collects it is left unsaid by Greenwald – it could be the GCSB itself or, just as likely – or maybe more likely – some other country’s intelligence agency.)

          Just who collects it and makes it available to the NZ government agency(ies) is an open question but, as I argued, a largely irrelevant question (apart from the fact that it would be some agency outside of NZ – which itself is concerning).

          One way or the other, if Greenwald is correct, NZ agencies of government get to analyse a large amount of metadata about ordinary New Zealanders’ communications – communications that New Zealanders would have assumed was private.

          That to me is the worry. On top of that is the extra worry that any detailed analysis could then be fed back to other countries’ agencies for their purposes.

          • weka

            Or fed to other NZ govt departments. Is that likely to be happening much at this stage?

            • Puddleglum

              Who knows?

              The worry is that the genie appears to be out of the bottle.

              What happens once all this metadata – and/or its analysis – is available is anyone’s guess (or nightmare).

              That, in a nutshell, is surely the essence of the entire worry over such a huge, organised trawl of private communications. It should not be available in the first place.

              • weka

                Well yes I agree, but my concern had been that in addition to the people who will be targeted by the state now (thinking Tūhoe as an example), that in the future the mass collection, analysis and use of across the board of the data is incredibly dangerous in a state moving towards fascism. I’m just wondering if we are further down that track that I had thought. Possibly not, but Dirty Politics has me trusting the state way less than I did before. And NZ for that matter.

                “The worry is that the genie appears to be out of the bottle.”

                But can be put back in presumably. The data could be destroyed when the practice is stopped.

                • But can be put back in presumably. The data could be destroyed when the practice is stopped.

                  Yes, it can be stopped overall.

                  What I should have said is that once any particular metadata set is available and is analysed then where it goes after that is entirely open (could be anywhere and everywhere – i.e., the genie is out of the bottle).

                  I was thinking of specific instances of the data being made available rather than the continuation of the overall practice. That is, ‘the genie is out of the bottle’ in any particular case once the metadata have been made available and analysed.

          • karol

            Key has said the GCSB has not done any mass “surveillance” of Kiwis.

            Does surveillance” refer to just the collection of data, or does it also include the analysis? I would have thought the latter.

            3 News print version of tonight’s report has an error:

            The man Mr Key calls a “henchman” won a Pulitzer Prize for his work with Snowden.

            “I think it’s preposterous to suggest that I as an American citizen who lives in Brazil am driven by anything other than journalism, and in particular that I’m driven by some desire to influence the outcome of the New Zealand election,” says Mr Key.

            But Mr Key is suspicious of his motives.

            • weka

              Pretty sure that if it’s a word Key is using he gets to define it however he wants 😉

            • Puddleglum

              I agree completely – ‘surveillance’ is primarily the latter (i.e., the analysis).

              For the very simple reason that it is analysis that gives data any meaning.

              To surveil is to ‘overview’ – you can’t view (perceive) without some analysis of the raw data. (from French – ‘sur’ = over; veiller = ‘watch’; from Latin vigilare = keep watch).

              • Colonial Viper

                I agree completely – ‘surveillance’ is primarily the latter (i.e., the analysis).

                For the very simple reason that it is analysis that gives data any meaning.

                There is some sophistry in those arguments. You can’t ignore the many steps integral to the surveillance function and draw easy bright lines here and there and say “this is definitely inside the activity of surveillance, but this is definitely outside of it”. Raw info/data collection is an integral part of the surveillance function. Because of that, targets rightly see the mere collection of info/data as a real threat.

                Think of a spy satellite floating overhead. Or maybe a recon drone. If China or Russia were the targets they would not be saying – that spy satellite and that recon drone isn’t really conducting surveillance. They’re just gathering raw data.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I doubt the chilling effect of data collection will be diminished greatly by the small print.

          • Anne

            Thank-you Puddleglum, I see what you’re saying now. Listening to Key’s weasel words on Q&A this morning adamantly denying the GCSB collect metadata sort of enhances the point.

            A neat arrangement that each of the Five Eyes countries scrolls through another counrty’s meta-data to enable “plausible deniability”, and then passes on the collected information to the sourced Five Eye country for them to analyse as they see fit.

            That phrase PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY again. We’ve been hearing it a lot lately.

      • weka 29.1.2

        Thanks Wp and Pg, very good to have those points an analysis so accessible.

    • Rich 29.2

      Yes the new version of God.

  28. BLiP 30

    Yee Gods!! Does John Key have no shame? While he is denying outright that there was mass spying on New Zealanders, his attempted shaping of the narrative is becoming apparent . Its not “mass spying” it actually “mass protection”. I guess if its “mass protection” then it must be doubleplusgood.

    • emergency mike 30.1

      Yep ‘mass protection’ is hilariously Orwellian. Like they’re not not just protecting a few people from the da turrists, they’re protecting lots of people. Wicked! I hope I’m being uh, ‘protected’.

      • Anne 30.1.1

        I’m sure you are emergency mike as is probably everyone else who posts/comments on this site. Always with our interest at heart of course. 😛

      • One Anonymous Bloke 30.1.2

        It’s nice to have a nanny to watch over us all. No, wait…

  29. Jenk 31

    Did anyone else notice John Key saying that a party with the most votes (ie National) could govern as a minority government if other parties decided to support such a type of govt. ie other parties eg NZ First would be prepared to support the Nats as a minority govt on certain matters of policy ? ? I don’t think I imagined this – TV3 News tonight ? Did anyone else notice this ? Is this a possibility – that the Nats could govern on their own (with 1 Act and 1 Dunne also) and party’s on the cross-benches agreeing to approve budgets, certain bits of legislation, etc ?

    • karol 31.1

      Yes. It was on The Nation this morning. He’s floating that as a possibility if neither block can form a government. But, under MMP, that’s highly unlikely.

      However, It shows that Key is not very confident of a victory. it also shows he doesn’t give a shit for democracy – just wants power.

      • weka 31.1.1

        Although to be fair I’ve seen it mooted for L/GP too.

        Not sure how it works? Isn’t it the dreaded instability, whereby the govt has to negotiate on each piece of legislation as they go?

    • ScottGN 31.2

      Mr Key has been musing on this for quite a while and apart from anything else it tells us that National have never been terribly confident of outright victory at this election.
      Mr Key seems to be saying that, assuming he’s the leader of the party with the most seats in the House after next Saturday he can go to the GG and ask that the new parliament be called and he can test its confidence with the delivery of a Speech from the Throne. He’s hoping, of course, that opposition parties will not wish to trigger a new election (and be punished for it) and therefore they will vote for the Throne Speech and subsequent Budget.
      This is common practice in Canada, which after all is another Westminster Parliament like ours and seems to be where he’s got the idea from.
      It isn’t common in NZ and I think he’s overestimating the opprobrium opposition parties might face if they choose to send the country back to the polls in the first instance.
      It’s also worth pointing out that it’s become the habit of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in Canada to bundle all sorts of contentious legislation (gun control measures for example or bills about abortion, prostitution or tax) into various catch-all Omnibus Bills that require the Confidence of the House and therefore dare the Opposition to vote them down.

  30. b waghorn 32

    @ jenk
    Must mean key knows he’s fucked if he’s talking about minority government.

  31. emergency mike 33

    First Key says, “There’s no mass surveillance of New Zealanders.” Period. But later in the same interview…

    Journalist- ‘Have we received mass surveillance on NZers from our overseas five eyes partners ?

    Key- ‘I can’t go into that detail because I don’t have the answer to that’.

    So, um, our minister for the GCSB, doesn’t know whether or not they have received massive data on NZers from their 5 eyes partners? Doncha think you should know Mr Key?

    But at the same time, he can state categorically that there’s no mass surveillance of New Zealanders. Hmm, I used to think that John Key was an impressive bullshit artist, but now I’m not so impressed. Do try to get your story straight.

    • emergency mike 33.1

      I also note that the click warriors on Stuff seems to have given up on this 712 comment article. The normal situation of very high scores for the countless people calling Key a liar, and negative scores for people slagging off Greenwald has resumed.

    • Puddleglum 33.2

      I suspect that Key’s ‘wiggle room’ is around who collects the data rather than who has access to it for analysis.

      It doesn’t matter who ‘collects’ it – Key’s assurance was that mass surveillance doesn’t happen. The kernel of this concern is not about ‘collection’ – it’s about analysis and use.

      He needs to be nailed on this – any journalists reading the comments on this post?

  32. Tautoko Viper 34

    Looking back over some of the issues to do with the GCSB and Key, I would like to know the role of Peter Thiel and Palantir and if it involves analysing data collected on NZ citizens.

    The following article discusses Palantir in the US:

    Citizens of the world who were tired of how much of their personal data the U.S. government controlled may soon have to get used to a different dilemma: That same information being controlled by a private company.

    If information is being collected by the GCSB , passed to a private company for analysis, is there not a potential for information to be sold on for commercial reasons?

    • Rich 34.1

      Yes I know nothing about this Palantir, but once I realised what was going on in this country, Thiel and his libertarian fascism with a strong base in elite shittery came immediately to mind. One of their ideas is for an offshore artificial island uncontrolled by any form of democracy and a place where the poor are banned (assumedly with the exception of fly in slaves). Sounds almost like they couldn’t be bothered building their own.

    • Colonial Viper 34.2

      I saw a tweet yesterday along these lines: Peter Thiel was asked if Palantir was a front for the CIA. He replied – no, it’s the CIA which is a front for Palantir.

      Oh, how wonderfully droll, I thought. Gagh.

  33. Valleyman 35

    Key will have received his script from the US government about what to say in response to the Snowdon documents that Greenwald will release on Monday, Key will also be franticly practising his script all weekend so he has it memorised word for word.

    • Colonial Viper 35.1

      The beautiful thing: Greenwald knows exactly what that script says as Greenwald has heard it hundreds of times before.

      • emergency mike 35.1.1

        Exactly, Greenwald has heard it all before here there and everywhere.

        I don’t think ‘henchman’ is going to throw him at this stage.

  34. Inky 36

    Another beautiful thing is Key’s bitchy remark about Greenwald being Dotcom’s ‘henchman’. Because you can be sure that it’s going to be reported overseas and he will have put himself on the radar with a lot more people. Many will know Greenwald is nobody’s henchman and will be thinking, ‘hmm, that sounds pretty defensive. Who is this guy Key and what is this all about?’

    Way to go, John, if you had even the sense of a melon farmer (google it), you’d have kept your stupid yap shut.

  35. karol 37

    Sunday Star Times this morning:

    Glenn Greenwald will speak first on Monday night. Simultaneously his report on NZ and the Snowden documents will be released online on Intercept.

    Dotcom will speak last (after Snowden & Assange via video link). Dotcom’s statement will be short, “incontrovertible” evidence that Key lied about when he knew him.

    SST says Key is poised to release a transcript of the briefing Key got just before the raid on Dotcom mansion, to show that was the first he’d heard of KDC. It shows Key asked if Dotcom was Korean.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 37.1

      The [redacted] answer to his question can now be revealed:

      “No, Prime Minister, remember your briefing in Los Angeles?”

  36. veutoviper 38

    Two IP/IMP releases that are worth reading/watching.

    First, the excellent press release from Harre and Harawira in response to Key’s reaction to Greenwald’s The Nation interview – and in particular Key’s statement that he is going to declassify documents to prove Greenwald wrong. Misusing security information for political purposes ??????


    Second, Laila (Not the Six O’Clock News) in discussion with Robert Amsterdam and Glenn Greenwald on mass surveillance, Key’s reaction to date and related matters. Twenty minutes of my life that I do not regret as it was well worth watching.

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