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John Key: a tale of two ‘truths’

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, June 23rd, 2014 - 34 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, capitalism, democratic participation, election 2014, john key, making shit up, poverty, slippery, spin, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags:



Remember when this was reported last week? The Stuff version:

New Zealand was “reintegrated” into the controversial Five Eyes intelligence network only five years ago, America’s top spy agency has revealed.


Prime Minister John Key said he could not recall any such change since National took office.

“I don’t know exactly what they are referring to.

“My understanding of it is that even through the challenging times of the relationship post the anti-nuclear legislation, New Zealand continued to be an active member of Five Eyes.”

Asked to confirm whether his Government had ever made a decision to actively rejoin Five Eyes, Key responded: “I don’t think that’s right, but I remember there were some vague things . . . ”

He then said he would check.

“If they are increasingly sharing more, then that’s news to me but they would know that more than I would.”

Now, today Audrey Young is reporting in the NZ Herald, reports that Key has made a trip to the NSA while in the US. However, this was left off the published Key schedule, because of “the heightened political sensitivity about the NSA over mass surveillance and the Edward Snowden leaks.”  Young reports that,

Prime Minister John Key took a secret trip to the NSA spy agency while he was in Washington last week.

It is not surprising that he went — he made the same trip the last time he was in Washington in 2011.

This time, it was left off the published schedule of meetings that is handed out to the news media. Last time, it was declared.


Mr Key all but confirmed his side trip to the National Security Agency headquarters to the Herald. Asked if he had gone, he said: “From time to time I always try to make sure I am fully briefed on intelligence matters.”

Got that!?  He always likes to be fully briefed on intelligence matters.  Yet he was unaware of the 2009 change….not to mention his claims that he only heard about surveillance on Kim Dotcom a little while before Dotcom’s mansion was raided.

john key trust me

The article also reports on Key’s (alleged) check on the 2009 change in NZ-US surveillance relationship:

Mr Key also clarified the issue of when New Zealand became fully integrated into the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network after the anti-nuclear rift with the US.

The two things that had endured “even in the worst of times” of the diplomatic rift were the Five Eyes relationship and Antarctic co-operation.

But the level of intelligence given by the US had been reduced — and most of the information supplied in Five Eyes came from the US, he said.

In 2009, the US decided to clear New Zealand to again receive top-level intelligence and the country was again fully integrated into the Five Eyes alliance.


With the amount of misinformation, spin and smears coming from Key’s government and his party, it really is looking like setting the stage for a full, open source revolution [h/t Draco T Bastard].  Guardian article on Robert David Steele and his book, The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth and Trust.

Steele argues that:

all the major preconditions for revolution – set out in his 1976 graduate thesis – were now present in the United States and Britain.

Steele’s book is a must-read, a powerful yet still pragmatic roadmap to a new civilisational paradigm that simultaneously offers a trenchant, unrelenting critique of the prevailing global order. His interdisciplinary ‘whole systems’ approach dramatically connects up the increasing corruption, inefficiency and unaccountability of the intelligence system and its political and financial masters with escalating inequalities and environmental crises. But he also offers a comprehensive vision of hope that activist networks like Reclaim are implementing today.

Steele puts a powerful case for the public recognising the powerful tools that we have at our finger-tips, through the use of collective action and open-source collaboration. We shouldn’t allow the spin merchants, anti-democratic forms of governance, or the compliant media render us feeling helpless.

“Believe it or not, 95% of what we need for ethical evidence-based decision support cannot be obtained through the secret methods of standard intelligence practices. But it can be obtained quite openly and cheaply from academics, civil society, commerce, governments, law enforcement organisations, the media, all militaries, and non-governmental organisations. An Open Source Agency, as I’ve proposed it, would not just meet 95% of our intelligence requirements, it would do the same at all levels of government and carry over by enriching education, commerce, and research – it would create what I called in 1995 a ‘Smart Nation.’

Get out and vote, collaborate, talk, engage!

Open source everything


34 comments on “John Key: a tale of two ‘truths’”

  1. Tom Gould 1

    The real question is to what extent is Key using domestic spy-sourced information for local political purposes? I guess no chook would dare ask, and I guess the response would be a convenient ‘brain fade’ anyway?

    • hoom 1.1

      to what extent is Key using domestic spy-sourced information for local political purposes?

      & to what extent GCSB/SIS etc are monitoring & taking steps to protect the Citizens of NZ from that kind of manipulation?

    • Chooky 1.2

      @ Tom Gould …..i would dare ask…this is a very important question and one which the pathetic mainstream media are not asking

      Great post karol!

    • Weepu's beard 1.3

      If true, a whistle-blower is required for this to come out. Not likely to happen under current conditions.

  2. Tracey 2

    The second part of your post may give a deeper insight into the fear held of kim dotcom?

    As for the PM and his unlying, he and barrack will be friends after they leave politics, why arent you more deferential?

  3. Penny Bright 3

    PROTEST – today! Against PM John Key ‘POODLE of Wall Street’ who’s supporting U$A warmongering/ unlawful drone strikes / TPPA

    WHEN : Monday 23 June 2014

    TIME: 12 noon till 2pm

    WHERE: Outside USA Consulate
    23 Customs St
    Auckland City

    This is a peaceful protest, that has been called by Independent activists, Penny Bright and Jax Taylor – with a VERY strong message!


    We are appalled and sickened at ex-Wall Street banker, NZ Prime Minister John Key’s slavish, drooling USA lap dog behaviour.

    ‘The will of the people is the basis of the authority of government’!

    So where does NZ Prime Minister John Key get his mandate to endorse closer economic and military ties with the USA military/industrial corporate machine, and their interests, including the TPPA and use of unlawful drone strikes?

    How would John Key like it if HIS children, Stephanie and Max were the victims of drone strikes?

    ‘Collateral damage – move on?’

    We doubt it!

    We have called this protest in defence of the ‘rule of law’, and human rights ahead of ‘corporate rights’.


    We have had a gutsful and are ‘standing up to be counted’.

    We know that there will be thousands of decent, independently-minded New Zealanders and people from all over the world who support what we are doing.


    Penny Bright …………………….

    (Who will be standing as an Independent ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’ against John Key in the Helensville electorate)

    Jacquelyne (Jax) Taylor ……………………………

    • Clemgeopin 3.1

      I am a little surprised that the protest is today. Isn’t that very short notice? Wouldn’t it have been better to hold the protest in a week or two after giving it a wider publicity through MSM, blogs and social media such as Facebook and Twitter first?

    • Chooky 3.2

      +100 Penny …good on you!!!! …and if there are enough people there…maybe the protest can be repeated

  4. Clemgeopin 4

    How has Key managed to fool about half of the population for over six years?

  5. Jrobin 5

    He has helpers of course. Deny, discredit, etc read Snowdons leaks on GCSB, pay attack bloggers, smooch pet journalists, threaten to remove funding, make endless OI requests to scare people, spy on journalsts such as Andrea Vance. BTW Fisiani hope you are reading this post of Karols, another example of Key mimicking stupidity or being genuinely lazy, to fool the sector of the public who are too busy surviving to take notice of these details

  6. Tracey 6

    People need to start re reading about propaganda. The idea that only the nazis and communists use/used it has enabled westerners to become gullible dupes.

    You only have to look at how many right wing supporters last week dont want to discuss

    honesty or truth because they see it as irrelevant. Think if behaviour is not illegal it cantbe rude.

    Jaques Ellul wrote about western propaganda in the 60’s. It is very relevant today.

    The formation of mens attitudes

    Download it here


    ” To the extent that propaganda is based on current news, it cannot permit time for thought or reflection. A man caught up in the news must remain on the surface of the event; be is carried along in the current, and can at no time take a respite to judge and appreciate; he can never stop to reflect. There is never any awareness — of himself, of his condition, of his society — for the man who lives by current events.

    Such a man never stops to investigate any one point, any more than he will tie together a series of news events. We already have mentioned man’s inability to consider several facts or events simultaneously and to make a synthesis of them in order to face or to oppose them. One thought drives away another; old facts are chased by new ones. Under these conditions there can be no thought. And, in fact, modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but be does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man’s capacity to forget is unlimited. This is one of the most important and useful points for the propagandist, who can always be sure that a particular propaganda theme, statement, or event will be forgotten within a few weeks. Moreover, there is a spontaneous defensive reaction in the individual against an excess of information and — to the extent that he clings (unconsciously) to the unity of his own person — against inconsistencies. The best defense here is to forget the preceding event. In so doing, man denies his own continuity; to the same extent that he lives on the surface of events and makes today’s events his life by obliterating yesterday’s news, he refuses to see the contradictions in his own life and condemns himself to a life of successive moments, discontinuous and fragmented.

    This situation makes the “current-events man” a ready target for propaganda. Indeed, such a man is highly sensitive to the influence of present-day currents; lacking landmarks, he follows all currents. He is unstable because he runs after what happened today; he relates to the event, and therefore cannot resist any impulse coming from that event. Because he is immersed in current affairs, this man has a psychological weakness that puts him at the mercy of the propagandist. No confrontation ever occurs between the event and the truth; no relationship ever exists between the event and the person. Real information never concerns such a person. What could be more striking, more distressing, more decisive than the splitting of the atom, apart from the bomb itself? And yet this great development is kept in the background, behind the fleeting and spectacular result of some catastrophe or sports event because that is the superficial news the average man wants. Propaganda addresses itself to that man; like him, it can relate only to the most superficial aspect of a spectacular event, which alone can interest man and lead him to make a certain decision or adopt a certain attitude.

    But here we must make an important qualification. The news event may be a real fact, existing objectively, or it may be only an item of information, the dissemination of a supposed fact. What makes it news is its dissemination, not its objective reality.

  7. Sable 7

    I suspect NZ’s role in the game of “I-SPY” is longstanding. The listening post we maintain has been around for a long time. That said we should not be spying on anyone be it each other or other countries.

    Lets hope people agree with this view come September….

  8. blue leopard 8

    I like the idea of an Open Source Everything Revolution.

    Thanks Karol

    • Molly 8.1

      Even businesses are getting on with a new paradigm. Tesla Motors in the US released their patents in the spirit of Open Source.

      • blue leopard 8.1.1

        Good to see a company doing that – and very surprising that the big car companies aren’t investing in such car types, I thought they would have been by now- at least doing so to a level where that Tesla company would be threatened.

        Electric cars interest me. I got given a ride in one when I was pretty young (in about 1977) and so am well aware that they could have developed far more, both in sophistication and in the volume that are manufactured, by now. CDs and cellphones didn’t exist then and now look at that technology – unsure if personal computers existed then or not – but if they did they would have been very rudimentary…. But despite the oil shocks of the 70s and much, much talk about the running out of a finite supply of oil – electric cars remain somewhat of a novelty.

        • Molly

          Watched the 2011 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” about three weeks ago. Can’t remember where I found it, but a link to a copy of it is here on Vimeo.

          Of particular interest is the role that legislation plays in pickup of technology or not. At one point businesses were given a maximum tax rebate of $4,000 for electric vehicles – at the same time the purchase of a Hummer resulted in a tax rebate of $100,000.

          By the time the movie finished – all who watched it had a pretty good idea of whodunnit even if the moviemakers didn’t.

          • blue leopard

            Yes have seen it. Didn’t recall that bit though…perhaps should watch again…refresh my memory…
            Kind of makes mincemeat of the arguments that our current government have been pushing re governments not being very good at ‘picking winners’. It would seem your example here shows that governments can not only ‘pick winners’ they can create them. As I understand it Hummers are very popular….

            This government really are a pack of naysayers.

            • Colonial Viper

              Simply look at it form the standpoint of how only govt is willing to backstop the riskiest, most innovative enterprises in the world. The private sector only likes getting in on the act once the odds have improved and the chance of profitability is good.

  9. emergency mike 9

    From Audrey Young’s Herald article:

    “From Mr Key’s comments, it appears there was no active decision by New Zealand to rejoin Five Eyes. The decision was taken by the US.”

    Is that the Five Eyes ‘partnership’ we didn’t know we had been suspended from? Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see the thing shut down myself, but failing that, some sort of a clue as to what the fk is going on would be nice.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      WTF the US made the decision for us? Talk about leaving behind all pretence of being a sovereign nation.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    And now he seems to think that our Anti-Nuclear policy is just “symbolism”.

    Why is this guy our PM again? Because he’s obviously not a Kiwi.

    • Chooky 10.1


    • emergency mike 10.2

      To be fair, from the transcript a more likely reading is that it is a visit from a US ship he thinks would be symbolic.

      However I think that everything Key says is symbolic.

  11. Mike the Savage One 11

    So Key and English, and the rest of the Nats, continue attempts to discredit Cunliffe and Labour, incessantly repeating the word “tricky”, in association wit Labour’s leader, and with Labour’s policies.

    Any person who bothered to watch and listen to the two interviews Key gave with TV3 (on the Nation) and TV One (Q+A) this last weekend, and who has a bit of background information on the topics, will have clearly got the impression, that the truly “tricky” and “shifty” politician is John Key himself.

    When he is interviewed or is commenting, he always talks rather casually, and initially suggests a negative response upon certain answers, which he then suddenly qualifies, or turns into ambiguous wording, and at times after that he makes a 180 degree turn, and suddenly implies or openly says the opposite of what it first sounded like.

    I have heard few politicians with such a shifty way of speaking, and Key is an expert in misleading, in avoiding clear and straight answers, and then mumbles on so casually, at times revealing his true views, as if there is nothing wrong with doing so, no matter how damned appalling his position and views are.

    This became to evident with his final admission, that he finds drone attacks to be completely acceptable and OK, never mind the civilians that may be killed. It is incredible that the media let him get away with all this, do not dig into him, while they have Cunliffe for a feast on any attempt to simply leave a question open.

    As the media is largely complying with, and almost subserviently following the governments line of “informing”, I see little in the way of much public dissent out there, the most seem to take Key’s words and will vote for him and the Nats, no matter how much he lies, hides, distracts, misleads, manipulates and tricks the listening and watching public. It is highly disturbing what is happening in New Zealand at present, very, very disturbing.

  12. Huginn 12


    Here’s an article about Dick Cheney – Vice President to George W Bush, which looks at events that occurred in 2004 when the justice Department refused to sign off on the Terrorist Surveillance Program, aka Stellar Wind, a highly secret National Security Agency effort—eventually revealed by The New York Times in December 2005 and then in much greater detail by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last June.

    As we are all now familiar, Stellar Wind empowers the agency to assemble a vast collection of “metadata,” including on the telephone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans, that its analysts could search and “mine” for information.

    The Justice Department were queasy about the whole program and had refused to sign off on it – this led to the infamous hospital stand-off scene.

    However, Cheney believed in a “unitary executive,” he believed quite literally that “the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” so the constitutional structure of the surveillance state that we have at the moment is very much an outcome of his attempt to show that to be so.

    The problem that I have is that the US has a robust constitutional framework. This sort of thing has happened before, and they get over it

    NZ does not have a robust constitutional framework, and we may well end up lumbered with the consequences of Dick Cheney’s failed experiment in constitutional reform long after the US has forgotten about it.

    • Huginn 12.1

      Danner’s New York Review article is also worth a look because he shows how Cheney’s doctrine of a ‘unitary executive’ stands behind and connects the mass surveillance program with the extrajudicial execution of citizens by the Executive.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        That “execution of citizens” occurring under President Obama’s tenure.

        In other words, there is currently no way to vote against the envelopment of society by the security and surveillance state.

  13. Huginn 13

    Obama is distancing himself from Cheney’s doctrine of the ‘unitary executive’ when he says that Anwar al-Awlaki and al-Awlaki’s 16 year old son, both U.S. citizens, we’re killed under cover of law.

    There is considerable push back against even this in the US at the moment, and I put this down to there being a robust constitutional framework in the US. They have a constitutional objection to extrajudicial execution of citizens by the executive.

    Here in NZ there is hardly a murmur when Key talks about enabling a foreign power to kill a citizen. It’s as though we don’t have the constitutional vocabulary to complain about it.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      The US Constitution is history, my friend. Corporations are people, money is speech, journalism = espionage, Posse Commitatus repealed, section 1021 of the NDAA allowing indefinite military detention of civilians without charge, 95%+ of US Muslims imprisoned on terrorist charges totally set up by the FBI etc.

      As for al-Alwaki’s 16 year old son who was NOT on any terrorism list – he was killed because of who his father was which is of course nothing less than collective punishment.

      Here in NZ there is hardly a murmur when Key talks about enabling a foreign power to kill a citizen.

      Yeah but that foreign power is the USA which you just described as being somewhat better than us, constitutionally.

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