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NZ spies on its Pacific neighbours

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, March 5th, 2015 - 169 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, International, john key, national, Politics - Tags: , , ,


The Herald this morning has reported on the latest analysis of New Zealand’s data gathering role based on Eric Snowden’s files.  The story is bound to have a profound effect on New Zealand’s relationship with its Pacific neighbours.  Essentially New Zealand has been collecting data en masse from them and handing it over to the Americans.

From the Herald:

New Zealand’s spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country’s closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours, according to documents supplied by United States fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s files reveal a heavy focus on “full-take collection” from the Pacific with nearly two dozen countries around the world targeted by our Government Communications Security Bureau.

Information from across the Pacific is collected by New Zealand’s GCSB but sent onto the United States’ National Security Agency to plug holes in its global spying network, the documents show.

Our beloved Prime Minister tried yesterday to usurp the claims.  It appears his office was approached for a response and it adopted the standard “we do not know that the documents are true but the claims are false” line.

From Stuff:

Today Key went on the attack, giving “very strong advice” for New Zealanders not to believe Hager, whose Dirty Politics book was a major theme of the September election.

That book alleged that National used a strategy of making Key the friendly face of the government while using right-wing blogs, most notably Whale Oil, to attack opponents. It was based on correspondence hacked from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computers.

Key claimed the material in Dirty Politics was wrong, and the same would be the case this time.

“Last time he came out with all this stuff, he was categorically wrong, he’ll be wrong this time as well, because information changes, we review things all the time, different actions are taken,” Key said this afternoon.

It had never been in doubt that New Zealand gathered and shared intelligence, he said.

“What a bizarre time to be coming out making the case that New Zealand either gathers and shares information or gets information from other intelligence agencies.

“Well, of course we do, and we do that to keep New Zealanders safe. We’re in the situation where we’ve got ISIL [Islamic State] reaching out to cause harm to New Zealanders, I think New Zealanders would expect me to share information,” Key said.

“My very strong advice to New Zealanders is [to] discount massively everything you hear from Nicky Hager. He was wrong last time, he’s wrong this time, his interests are his own self-serving interests, not the rest of the country.”

Key did not confirm or deny that New Zealand’s spy agencies were spying in the Pacific.

“I’m not going into who we gather information from, or why, but I can tell you we do gather information, we have over successive governments across a range of different places, but we do that for really, really good reasons.”

We don’t do that loosely or randomly, and actually, those situations change dramatically.”

I cannot imagine a more random gathering of information than collecting all of it and providing it to the Americans.  And it will be interesting for Key to explain how the handing over of the data of kiwis living or holidaying in the Pacific to the Americans is legal or complies with previous promises that there is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders.  As a minimum it would appear that Kiwis in the Pacific Islands have been subject to mass surveillance.

I suspect that National will look rattled on this issue for a few days.  Until the focus group results are in.

169 comments on “NZ spies on its Pacific neighbours”

  1. Tinfoilhat 1

    I expect that most of the population just won’t care what with all the rugby and cricket on at the moment.

    • Pascals bookie 1.1


      Caring what people care about is a damn fool way to go about your business I reckon.

      • Peter 1.1.1

        …… not if you want to win elections, keep power and do as you please. Fooling most of the people most of the time appears to be an outrageous success for National.

        • Pascals bookie

          Can assure you my name wasn’t on the voting paper. I’m a citizen. I’m not looking to be elected, but to elect.

          Horse race journalism has fucked how we think.

          It should make no difference to you what others think. Think for yourself.

      • tinfoilhat 1.1.2

        Don’t know what you’re so uppity about.

        I was just making comment as to what my perception is of the likely public response to this revelation.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Ahhhh, but we don’t need most members of the public to care today. This is a process of shifting opinion which will take a few years. And it is well underway.

          Just like the thousands of people who turned up to the Auckland Town Hall to hear Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden speak, we only need to have the small percentage of awake, active people care enough to wake up the people closest to them.

          • Chooky

            +100 CR

          • Molly

            This is true. Over the last few years, a few of the non-political acquaintances and family have started reading alternative news sources, and conversations and discussions are much more political and current.

            This discourse continues to grow.

    • saveNZ 1.2

      Yep actually people do care. Love that line ‘no one cares’ discourse gets trotted out every five minutes with each expose of Keys lies. Even if MSM does print a lie, they tend to end with, but the public doesn’t care.

      One day there will be a dossier of Brand Key’s lies. They are so plentiful.

      If the public don’t care, why was only 48 hrs given for public consultation on the surveillance bill and why, even in that time frame many members of the public submitted submissions?

      Why is there no parliamentary vote on sending troops to Iraq?

      Actually people care, there is just erosion of democracy in this country under our noses.

  2. Whateva next? 2

    “…his interests are his own self serving interests, not the rest of the country…..”
    Bit ironic

  3. wyndham 3

    Why has Ian Fletcher resigned from his position as head of the GCSB ?

    • Anne 3.1

      Because he knew what was coming? Hager spoke of… he and a colleague spending months going through all the documents… so that probably means the GCSB has known about it since well before Xmas. Fletcher announces he’s resigning just before Xmas. He left exactly one week ago today.

      • Chooky 3.1.1

        +100 Anne…but Fletcher probably knew other things too and couldn’t stomach them

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2

      Pure conjecture: he was forced out because the Gwynn inquiry found out what he’d been up to. Consideration was given to the timing.

  4. Pasupial 4

    John Key’s crimes against Journalism

    Killing off Public Broadcasting TV by shutting down TVNZ7 and having Minister’s lie about how many people watched the station.
    Raiding newspapers and broadcasters to stop them publishing the tea pot tapes.
    Defaming investigative journalist Jon Stephenson who questioned if NZs SAS had committed war crimes in Afghanistan by handing civilians over to known torture units.
    Defaming investigative Journalist Nicky Hager by calling him a communist conspiracy theorist when Hager opened up the Dirty Politics black ops team working within Key’s office.
    Calling award winning Journalist Glenn Greenwald and whistle blowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden ‘Henchmen’ when they revealed the truth of Key’s mass surveillance plans.
    Having all of Andrea Vance’s emails and phone records taken.
    Using far right hate speech merchant and Fascist Cameron Slater to smear public servants the Government didn’t like.
    Falsifying SIS information and working with the state spy service to smear Phil Goff in the media months before the 2011 election.


    • framu 4.1

      and he dropped another clanger today saying that the last time nikki hagar made claims it all turned out to be lies

      shame that JKs stories kept changing on a day to day basis during that time

      and frankly – media shouldnt be able to broadcast blatant lies from our MPs without some sort of context or further facts added. (im not saying they should tell us what to think gosman)

      • SHG 4.1.1

        Well then, all Nicky Hager has to do is prove that the claims in his book are true. That’s called “journalism”.

        • framu

          so nicky hagar presents the news now and/or gets right of reply every time the MSM lets JK spread lies?

          Is Hagar the subject of all JKs lies?

          Is Hagar employed as the media’;s fact checker?

          its about the MSM repeating things they know arent true – is that clear?

        • Tracey

          did not the release of the hacked emails by the hacker put evidence to the claims?

        • Naturesong

          Proof as in, confirmation of authenticity from the person whose emails they were?

          Like that time that the oily one confirmed that the emails were true when he went to court to try and get them suppressed.

          Is that the sort of proof you were after?

    • Chooky 4.2

      +100….good points Pasupial

  5. vto 5

    John Key is a bare-faced liar yet again


    john key is a liar

  6. Gosman 6

    Isn’t this what a foreign intelligence agency is meant to do?

    • mickysavage 6.1

      How would you feel if the Russians were collecting all of our digital data?

      • Roflcopter 6.1.1

        Of course they do, as well as every other nation with capability to do so, but I don’t see you making a big song and dance about it.

      • Naturesong 6.1.2

        I think the analogy is “what if the Australians were collecting all of our digital data?”

        But of course that isn’t necessary since we hand it all over to them anyway.

      • Gosman 6.1.3

        I’m pretty confident that is exactly what the Russians attempt to do.

        • Once was Tim

          @ Gosman ….
          There is an article on Stuff which no doubt you’ve read by Michael Field.
          The headline doesn’t do it justice and is a little at odds with the content because the point he is making is that although we’re hoovering up all communications (i.e. hearing), we’re not actually ‘listening’.
          It’s all a bit pointless and driven more by political paranoia than anything – which begs the question WHY do it in the first place? All that’s being achieved is we’re pissing off our neighbours from whom we then expect ‘loyalty’ (when we go for things like Security Council seats). We seem to get it wrong every time.
          All that’s quite apart from issues of the State warehousing personal information for ‘future use’ (just as the Stasi did).
          No doubt you’re fine with that but don’t expect cooperation from the spied on when there’s a need to go groveling to them.

        • wtl

          Yes, and it is STOPPING the Russians and Chinese from collecting this data is exactly what the GCSB is meant to be doing, not collecting the data themselves.

          • Gosman

            No its not
            That is the role of counter intelligence. The GCSB’s main focus us on intelligence gathering.

            • tricledrown

              Knowing the Russians and Chinese they won’t need to collect any thing as the Yanks will do it for them the Yanks have never been able to keep any secrets.So the GSCB handing info to the US will probably be seen in China first as it still requires huge manpower to desciminate vast volumes of Data.
              The US claims to have better technology to keep its secrets when its made in China.
              While New Zealand’s National party had signed up Huawei to set up its broadband .
              Huawei have been caught many times doing espionage stealing state and coporate secrets.
              So Goose man.
              As per usual you are full of it.

      • nadis 6.1.4

        The russians and the chinese are , or at least attempting to. The state surveillance mechanism within Russia and China are way more intrusive than 5 eyes. We just don’t hear about them via Snowden, wikileaks or similar.

        Russia’s system has been described as “Prism on steroids”. Google “Sorm” for more details.

        Ron Deibert, a professor at the University of Toronto and director of Citizen Lab, which co-operated with the Sochi research, describes the Sorm amendments as “Prism on steroids”, referring to the programme used by the NSA in the US and revealed to the Guardian by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. “The scope and scale of Russian surveillance are similar to the disclosures about the US programme but there are subtle differences to the regulations,” says Deibert. “We know from Snowden’s disclosures that many of the checks were weak or sidestepped in the US, but in the Russian system permanent access for Sorm is a requirement of building the infrastructure.”

        For instance Russian internet and telephone providers have to pay for and install a system that records all information (not jhust meta but also content) and make it available to 7 different government agencies without warrant or notification to the customer.


        • Colonial Rawshark

          I think you are correct and the Russian spy systems are far more intrusive and overt within their own borders. However they do not have anywhere near the access to western telcos and fibre optic networks terminating on US territory as the NSA and FVEY nations have.

          What this tells me is that our intelligence agencies are far more interested in mass surveillance of their own citizens, probably for the purposes of political control.

          I am pretty sure that Snowden’s offices in Hawaii will have had direct access to all data travelling on NZ’s Southern Cross cable. The Ruskies wouldn’t have that.

          Another example is how the NSA sets up interception rooms in the middle of telco switch centres. In these rooms, beam splitters are used to take a full copy of a fibre optic cable’s contents. We’re talking many gigabits per second taken and stored. These facilities were installed across the USA.

          One difference to the Russian scenario you mention is that I understand that the NSA pays telcos handsomely to have NSA facilities on site. All part of the money go round intrinsic in the heart of the Security Surveillance Industrial Congressional Complex.


          • nadis

            I’m not sure your making a logical point here – you might want to re-read what you have written.

            The two sentences in para 1 are logically inconsistent with each other for instance.

            Yes I’m sure the americans have access to to the southern cross cable terminating on their terrotiry and the Russains probably don’t. But the russians do have access to cables terminating in Russia or their satellites. So again the point you are making is logically inconsistent.

            The only point you make that makes sense is that NSA pays telcos for access, whereas the FSB charges the telcos for giving access.

            Heres how I’d summarise:

            – Hagars revelations today are a big yawn and nothing new – shades of Dotcoms big reveal. Oversold and under-delivered. Where is the promised proof of domestic surveillance?
            – Every major government does this or aspires to do so. It’s just easy to point fingers at the USA because more information flies around
            – There appears to no suggestion the Governments of the Pacific nations are being spied on by 5 eyes – that would be at least a little bit explosive. (BTW I think they probably are being spied on especially in their dealings with China).
            – What Snowden released probably undersells what NSA is capable of and does

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Every major government does this or aspires to do so

              Mass surveillance is directly against the US Fourth Amendment. And until the last decade and a half, only Soviet police states have aspired to conduct mass surveillance on their own citizens.

              – There appears to no suggestion the Governments of the Pacific nations are being spied on by 5 eyes – that would be at least a little bit explosive. (BTW I think they probably are being spied on especially in their dealings with China).

              As one of the FVEY nations NZ is passing their data on to other FVEY nations. That is clear in Fisher’s write up.

              – Hagars revelations today are a big yawn and nothing new – shades of Dotcoms big reveal. Oversold and under-delivered. Where is the promised proof of domestic surveillance?

              Remember that there are a series of Herald articles coming out. Also this is not about the hype – this is about the reality of mass surveillance on ordinary people and the gradual undermining of democratic institutions.

              • nadis

                I think the technical position of the US government is that they do not engage in mass surveillance of US citizens, and therefore the actions of the NSA are within US law. (The reality may or may not be different).

                US constitutional protections do not apply to non-citizens.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Given that the US intelligence services is building hundreds of thousands of square metres worth of data storage facilities eg. at Bluffdale, Utah (and there are several more facilities), they’re definitely spying on a very, very large number of people re: both metadata and content.

            • Murray Rawshark

              “– There appears to no suggestion the Governments of the Pacific nations are being spied on by 5 eyes”

              You mean apart from the fact that they collect everything?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      Never mind that deploying military personnel against civilians is a war crime.

      • Gosman 6.2.1

        So spying is now a war crime is it?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Did you twist my words because you don’t understand them or because you agree with them?

          • Roflcopter

            What’s this got to do with spying?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Roflcopter, spying is a military activity. Like any military activity it has legitimate targets. Targeting civilians is outlawed by the Geneva conventions.

              When there are grounds to spy on civilians, that is carried out by the civilian authorities as part of a court ordered procedure.

              Or is that just lip service you Righties pay to your Lawnorder idol?

              • Gosman

                A question for you on that. If I read a newspaper in a foreign country and gather intelligence from that to be used by intelligence services here or in a third country would you regard that as a war crime?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I’m not playing your stupid twenty questions game Gosman. if you’ve got something to say, say it.

                  • Gosman

                    My point is that your attempt to claim that gathering intelligence from non military sources somehow breeches the Geneva convention is not grounded in reality as that is how Intelligence agencies have always operated.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, because reading newspapers is exactly the same as intercepting people’s phone calls.

                    • felix

                      What if Gosman ate a cake while on holiday, and it remained with him all the way home. Would that be the same as stealing the recipe or is he just full of shit?

                    • emergency mike

                      Gosman thinks reading a newspaper is ‘intelligence gathering’. Go home, you’re stupid.

                • DoublePlusGood

                  How exactly is publicly available information like a newspaper in any way similar to hacked personal communications?
                  I mean really, please think before you write.

                  • Gosman

                    I didn’t state is was the same. I pointed out trying to claim spying on civilians is against the Geneva convention is not based in reality as Spy agencies have done this since they were first set up.

                • Murray Rawshark

                  “A question for you on that. If I read a newspaper in a foreign country and gather intelligence from that to be used by intelligence services here or in a third country would you regard that as a war crime?”

                  No Goosemann, if you gathered anything intelligent I’d regard it as a miracle.

              • Jones

                Spying is also a commercial activity.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Not when military personnel do it.

                  • Murray Rawshark

                    It probably is actually a mixture of both, OAB. The Pentagon basically works on behalf of US corporates and has since the days of Smedley Butler. I don’t think there is a real distinction between military and commercial any more.

          • Gosman

            Have you ever read or heard about WWII publicity campaigns such as ‘Loose lips sink ships’ ? What do you think they were about? Perhaps they were about spies gathering important intelligence from civilian members of the public. In fact I’m pretty sure spies have always gained valuable intel from general (i.e. civilian) sources.

            • framu

              so you favor a stasi like approach to how the govt treats its citizens?

              that does appear to be what you are providing semantic cover for – maybe you could clear up any confusion in a clear and concise manner?

              • Gosman

                Massive leap there. The Stasi kept dossiers on most of the citizens of that poor communist dictatorship. That is not the same as sifting through data to identify potential threats.

                If you have evidence that the security services have individual dossiers on all or even a significant portion of us then you have my 100 percent support to overthrow the brutal dictatorial regime we obviously live in as a result.

                • framu

                  so you disagree that the NSA keeps all the data we send it?

                  your being quite obvious on this one gos – we all know your not this thick so just stop it ok

                  but as usual – your avoiding. Can you clear up what exactly you mean in a clear and concise manner without the side steps and goal post shifting?

                  • Gosman

                    I work in IT and have experience with data collection and storage. The idea that there is a system in place that collects and stores all our individual communication in a manner that could be easily accessed from a single location is fanciful. For one it would likely require Servers more powerful that what Google uses. For another it wouldn’t really help intelligence agencies having so much information. They want relevant detail not everything. Of course you can construct a giant conspiratorial fanstasy world where we are all secretly being manipulated and controlled by dark sinister forces. I believe they are shape shifting reptillian aliens last time I looked.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The fact that they boast about it doesn’t register with Gosman. That they outline the hardware by which it is achieved doesn’t raise a ripple. The fact that it’s a war crime doesn’t either.

                      Then there’s the ridiculous notion that collecting everyone’s data means you have to read all of it.

                      Look! A cycleway!

                    • framu

                      so your calling the the US senate/congress, nsa, greenwald, hagar, JK and numerous other insiders and commentators liars now?

                      all of these people/groups have admitted/exposed/acknowledged that mass meta data collection and storage happens.

                      unless your making some cute little distinction between meta data and message contents of course

                    • Gosman

                      “Then there’s the ridiculous notion that collecting everyone’s data means you have to read all of it.”

                      That is my point. If you don’t read it you are wasting your money if you then store it. They sift through a massive amount of data to identify the bits that are relevant and then likely dump the rest.

                    • Skinny

                      Oh I see now, “your in IT” and an expert in spying by the sounds of it.

                      I thought someone was watching me if I take my phone into the bathroom when I shower ‘,’ you flithy little animal. Thought you would have a complex by now Gosman.

                    • Kaplan

                      Gosman. You may claim to work in IT but you have had nothing to do with big data if you believe what you have typed here. Storing and reporting on massive amounts of data is not hard in the slightest.

                      In terms a layman can understand:
                      Google continuously crawl and index the entire internet. Most content is crawled and indexed with twelve hours of creation, usually much quicker.
                      Once the data is indexed user searches can return relevant data in a few milliseconds To do this with communication data is a formality, with the added bonus that it’d be totally acceptable to have the operator batch queue their searches and return data in minutes rather than seconds.

                      You can say what you like about the morals and consequences of storing communication data but trying to argue the job is ‘too hard’ is factually incorrect.

                    • Gosman

                      Google has massive server farms which cost hundreds if not billions of dollars to set up and operate. They manage to do this because the generate billions in revenue. The US Military is well resourced it is true but I doubt even they could justify the huge expenditures required to maintain a Google size infrastructure especially if most of the data is never used and therefore useless.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      “but I doubt even they could justify the huge expenditures required to maintain a Google size infrastructure especially if most of the data is never used and therefore useless”


                      This would cost more or less then the f-35?

                      And they prob use this for getting an edge in MoH


                    • thatguynz

                      I suggest you get into some googling about the NSA datacentres then Gos – you may be surprised.

                    • tricledrown

                      Go StasSIS man.
                      Spinning your pathetic web of lies cynicism and deceit.
                      So we have example of those who expose the Truth.
                      Private Manning totured held in solitary confinement locked up for the rest of his life.
                      His whole life ruined for exposing a multiple murder by US marines.
                      Those perpetrators muderers have never been brought to justice.
                      Now we complain when the enemy retaliate in just as gruesome manner.
                      A 13 year old Arab boy non combatent is kidnapped by Jewish fundamentalists and burned alive in a similar manner to Jordanian pilot combatent.
                      Key uses one example but not equally horific other example.
                      Go goostepper.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The FVEY citizen surveillance system is orders of magnitude more powerful than what the Stasi could even dream of.

                      I laughed at Gossie’s use of the word “dossiers” as that is a weasel word that Clapper, Hayden and other head spooks sometimes use to confuse the issue.

                      Of course the FVEY agencies don’t keep “dossiers” or “folders” on individual citizens like the Stasi did. These things are now generated instantaneously via automated database queries, including transcripts of all your phone conversations. (ahhh, Dragon naturally speaking dictation software, how you have fallen).

                      Just another BS Gossie distraction in other words.

                    • nadis

                      I’m pretty sure the NSA isn’t struggling for budget, though it is pretty hared to tell becuase much of its’ budget is secret.

                      Recent spending:


                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Worth remembering that Snowden was a Booz Allen consultant. The security and surveillance state has been throwing massive amounts of money to the private sector.

                      Where former NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander has just gone to work for millions, incidentally, as a consultant helping high tech corporates get NSA and Pentagon contracts.

                    • Tracey

                      I am sorry you work in IT, it makes me nervous to think of someone with your lack of ethics and understanding of privacy in charge of anything.

            • tricledrown

              Goostepper they haven’t gained any intelligence from you.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Unfortunately though we have found out that Gosman appears to enjoy being watched.

              • tricledrown

                Booze Allen is a CIA fronting company only set up to give the appearance of a private contractor.most likely funded by CIA clandestine money laundering through drug trade corruption clandestine activities (like the disappearance of US billions in Iraqis )etc tto o avoid oversight by govt agencies.

        • Sabine

          The Gestapo and the Stasi and the KGB said all the same thing 🙂

          • Gosman

            Have you just Godwin’d this thread?

            I have already explained why there is a difference between what the Stasi did and what is suggested happens here.

            Another question for you. What level of Spying is acceptable to you/

            • framu

              actually buddy – if your going to play godwin i think that was me (unless godwin only applies to gestapo and not stasi)

            • DoublePlusGood

              It’s not actually a Godwin if mention of Nazis is relevant to the discussion, as it is here with reference to a historical example of a totalitarian surveillance state.
              I mean, otherwise World War II History scholarship just wouldn’t work, as peer review would consist of “I disagree with the author here, as I do not consider Godwinning during a discussion of occupied Belgium to be appropriate”

      • nadis 6.2.2

        Selective reading of the Geneva convention. It is not a war crime to “deploy military personnel against civilians”. It’s a war crime to use military force against non-combatants (which includes surrendered combatants), use torture, deny them medical aid, use summary justice. But the mere fact that a soldier interacts with a civilian is not a war crime.

        I’m also not sure whether the NSA is military or civilian. It is part of the DoD, but has mostly civilian employees, although the head has always had a rank of at least General. The CIA is certainly a civilian organisation.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Interacts with” is exactly the same as illegal surveillance is it? The distinction between the GCSB and SIS is military.

    • framu 6.3

      i dont think “spy on everyone” is what an intelligence agency is meant to do – do you?

      • Gosman 6.3.1

        I don’t believe they have such restrictions placed on their activities overseas. Their remit is to gather intelligence from foreign sources. This they seem to be doing.

        • framu

          aww look – hes pretending he doesnt understand how five eyes operates vis a vis info sharing and spying on behalf

          • Gosman

            Your point ?

            • framu

              your playing your role here on purpose

            • Tiger Mountain

              “GCSB is just doing their expected job” according to resident snout Gosman; well dear leader has previously offered to resign if mass surveillance of ‘noo zilundas’ was revealed and it appears that it has been.

              Lots of Pasifika people and Pacific tourists and business people are NZ citizens so the GCSB has undie sniffed beyond the brief, no pun etc.

              Nat HQ and Crosby Textor took a while to cough up todays line that the Penguin and others are now regurgitating online.

    • fisiani 6.4

      Foreign intelligence is about ….wait for it……getting intelligence about foreigners. Quelle surprise!
      This is a storm in a D-cup. What a tit.

      • Bill 6.4.1

        And NZ is playing the role of faithful lieutenant for the US….why?

        Gathering info on individual foreigners who are ‘of interest’ is a bit different to monitoring Pacific government ministers and senior officials, government agencies, international organisations and non-government organisations, no?


        And it’s a bit different to collecting economic info. And it’s a bit different to collecting all communications that are interceptable and passing it all to the US, no?

      • Tracey 6.4.2

        foreign intelligence

        This is what intelligence and independent thinking is to Fisi.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.5

      Isn’t this what a foreign intelligence agency is meant to do?

      Mass surveillance is a totalitarian activity which puts all of us in danger. It does that by disempowering elected officials and subverting democratic processes. A ‘secret government’ (usually made up of a few men in various closed committee meetings) ends up with excess power, making all key decisions, with only a veneer of democratic legitimacy placed as a cherry on top as an after thought.

      Make no mistake – all the metadata AND content related to NZers is being captured as well.

      • Gosman 6.5.1

        Do you think Andrew Little or anyone in Labour will make the case that we should change what is happening?

        [ Congratulations on hitting moderation. Your comments may or may not be released as and when a moderator gets around to clearing out the queue – Bill]

    • Tracey 6.6

      Hi John, thanks for commenting on The Standard. Just yesterday you said you weren’t doing this, that the claims are lies.

    • Murray Rawshark 6.7

      No, it’s not what an intelligence agency is supposed to do. It would be akin to the police interrogating every citizen on a random basis because they may have committed some crime. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, eh? It’s not even intelligent and it’s done on behalf of the seppos. FJK.

  7. Sabine 7

    Maybe we could – and that includes me – just ignore the one that is just here to ejaculate over his keyboard.

    It makes for better discussions.

  8. Gosman 8

    They just had a Pacific Islands correspondant (I presume for Radio NZ) on Nine to Noon. He mentioned that this sort of thing is pretty standard. China for example has had a major spy base on Kiribati which has been doing similar activities. What do people think a external intelligence organisation should do if not gather intelligence on other countries?

    • Bill 8.1

      Okay Gosman, I’ll attempt to make this simple for you. The NZ Government isn’t collecting ‘intelligence’ – it’s collecting everything.

      • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1

        Yep including piles of dross producing far too much data for their analysts to wade through. Which is why the much vaunted security services keep missing terrorist plans until after they occur.

        As Bill Binney (former NSA Technical Director ‘of the world’, a rank equivalent to a 1 star or 2 star General within the NSA) has repeatedly said – they keep the problem going in order to keep the funding flowing.

        TL:DR they use “terrorism” to gain budget and power, but create a system which targets everyone, not terrorists.

        • Tracey

          this point requires major highlighting and repetition. it is part of the crux, that and the feeding of information received/gathered for the benefit of the kinds of corporates who are “advisors” to the USA TPP team.

    • Once was Tim 8.2

      You actually missed the point he has been trying to make – i.e. we’re gathering and hearing but NOT actually listening.
      The spooks are all very chuffed at their ability to gather and keep for future use, but they fuck it up in its interpretation EVERY time!
      What’s the point in being able to prove Frank is unfaithful to Mere (say for example) – only for effective future blackmailing in the future. I mean we know the answer to that already (or rather the diplomatic corps do, or SHOULD do).
      And what is the point of being able to do that on NZ citizens visiting the Pacific other than being in a position to blackmail them or kick them into line sometime in the future. Of course, you’re utterly perfect without any human failings, so it won’t affect you. The intent is ‘compliance’, but as we see elsewhere in the world – the exact opposite is more often the case.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.3

      All you have to do to see the wrong in this is turn the tables. A frigate from Iceland docks in Wellington. Sailors from that frigate, once they’ve ticked all the customs boxes, can come and go as they please.

      If they come and go as they please while systematically tapping our phones and opening our letters, they’re criminals. If they were tourists they’d get arrested. So the police arrest them.

      “Ah,” they argue, “we were only following orders.”

      War crimes, just like other crimes, come in different degrees of severity. This isn’t as bad as murdering people at weddings, and it’s still a war crime.

  9. framu 9

    In the 1970s the government realised that more crimes were being committed than was technically possible. This was partly due to the fact that 31% of crimes were fabricated by the government to keep citizens in a constant state of anxiety. To maintain its own credibility, the government banned the use of contraceptives for 3 months per year in the hope that the population would rise and thus generate the citizens required to meet the implausible high crime figures.

    The scheme backfired when the new population proved to comprise largely blameless, model citizens. However, the government was not convinced of their apparent virtue and created a special, combined investigation & prosecution squad. It invested birds, insects and other animals with the full power of a law court and trained them to spy on citizens, assuming that guilt would inevitably be detected.

    In addition to pigeons (see below), there were crack teams of sparrows, cats, butterflies, stoats and tuna, but there were also ‘lone wolf’ operatives, the most infamous of which was a ladybird who everyone knew as Two-Spots Bailey, though his real identity remains a mystery to this day.

    • Gosman 9.1

      This has just gone to prove the fact that 76.4% of statistics are made up to try and influence an argument.

      • framu 9.1.1

        i see what you did there – look gosman ive told you a million times – stop exaggerating 🙂

        • Gosman

          Have you got a link to your 31% of crimes being fabricated by the government claim?

          • framu

            yes – but its not what you think it is

          • Once was Tim

            I do – I’ll put it up on Wiki and get a couple of mates to peer review just as soon as I can translate the BS-speak (going forward)

            Just as an aside Gozzzz-boi

            Do you ekshly have an ego the size of a bus, or are you more a kind of Jamie-Lee Ross type fella.
            I’m just a little curious after that claim above about your IT creds and database knowledge (or rather ‘knowism’).

            If you don;t want to answer, fair cop. It’s just that you are one of the reasons I don’t ‘engage’ with The Standard other than to read and occasionally comment (i.e. you’re one the reasons I flick to ‘elsewhere’ and I suppose that’s mission successful for you.
            (Don’t think it’ll add an inch to the length or girth tho’ Goz – I ain;t the meat – it’s the motion ….. something I reckon you’d even have to check with your masters before even attempting)

    • David 9.2

      Best lolz of the day, Two-Spots Bailey?

      • framu 9.2.1

        go to the scarfolk link – sure its really just one big add for a freelance graphic designer – but its damn funny in a douglas adams/monty python esque sort of way

  10. Bill 10

    From an accompanying Herald article that appears a wee bit more informative…

    Leaked Snowden files show most of GCSB’s targets are not security threats to New Zealand, as Government suggests.

    And the countries include Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati and Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia.


    • Gosman 10.1

      You don’t think the French are a potential threat to NZ?

      • Bill 10.1.1

        I think you’re being a threat to my good will and patience. Up your game, engage intelligently and stop with the mostly irrelevant and potentially derailing one-liners or risk being neutralised (ie, copping a ban on this post), yes?

        • Gosman

          There has been only one act of State sponsored terrorism carried out in New Zealand and it was perfomed by the French. I’m not sure why pointing this out would incur a ban when you posted a list of countries that included territories controlled by France with the implied assumption being why should we target these nations. I merely asked why would the French not be a threat.

          • Bill

            It wouldn’t. The “mostly irrelevant and potentially derailing one-liners” in conjunction with what I pointed out in my previous comment and compounded by wasting my fucking time will though.

          • tricledrown

            Goostepper is now frog marching this discussion.

            [ Nope. All comments he attempts to make on this thread have been hitting (and staying in) moderation since about 10.30.] – Bill

  11. Sable 11

    First of all its Edward Snowden not Eric. As to the rest, well I’ve said it before but Ill go on saying it because it needs to be said; this government are “traitors” selling us all out to US interests.

    • Colonial Rawshark 11.1

      Apparently most of our leadership class are too keen to get in bed with the 0.1% to really worry about looking after the rest of our interests.

      Make no mistake, this mass collection of data and metadata will have been occurring (or prepared for) during Helen Clark’s time. (The NSA started mass collection of American citizens’ data in October 2001, and gradually gave their tools to the rest of the FVEY nations.)

      • Murray Rawshark 11.1.1

        I’m willing to be charitable and think that the squirrels may have done it behind Helen’s back. Goff, Jones, and Mallard may have been the only government members who knew.

  12. Anne 12

    While the GCSB has always had a role carrying out surveillance on the Pacific, the Snowden documents show it grew massively from 2009.

    If my memory is right, the head of the GCSB was Sir Bruce Ferguson in 2009. He had been appointed by Helen Clark some 3 years sooner, and his term was due for renewal that same year. To everyone’s surprise his position was not renewed by the new govt. (or he was advised it would not be renewed) and he was forced to go into premature retirement. At the time I assumed his ‘crime’ had been that he was elevated to the position by the Labour govt. so therefore he had to go. It is now more likely to have been the proposed increases in surveillance activity, and they assumed – correctly I’m sure – that Sir Bruce would not tolerate such massive increases.

    It also suggests to me that given all this happened within months of Key becoming PM, he had been having private discussions with the Americans when he was still the Leader of the Opposition? Now, that scenario, if correct, would raise some very interesting questions indeed!

    • Chooky 12.1

      +100 Anne…good points…New Zealand is rapidly losing its sovereignty and becoming an instrument to outside interests ….under John Key

      ….and I hope Little Labour is not party to this

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 12.1.1

        Taking this line of thought further, what incentives have been given to John Key if he implemented the US plan? I am thinking aloud on hidden campaign funding as well as string pulling.

        • Anne

          That was my line of thought too. It would also account for his gaining access to Obama with such remarkable ease virtually from Day One. A very, very, very, very good friend indeed!

          When you think about it, he always came across as slightly uneasy whenever he was questioned about his (and NZ’s) sudden increase in ties to the US. It was almost as if he was wary of questions in case he let something slip.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          I am thinking aloud on hidden campaign funding as well as string pulling.

          Possibly – although these days the “bribe” of choice is a plum multi-million dollar private sector “consulting” position after leaving public office.

          • Anne

            I have always been suspicious of Key’s decision not to delay his departure to Los Angeles (for a matter of some 12 hours or so) at the time of the memorial service for the 3 soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan. The son’s baseball match was crap because it transpired it took place 4 days after the event. We also learnt later that on his way to the baseball he had a pre-arranged dinner in LA… purportedly at the invitation of the Warner Bros. moguls. Who else was present I wonder…?

    • Gosman 12.2

      Why don’t you, or someone else, go and ask him? He has been interviewed on matters of security on numerous times since 2009 so he isn’t shy giving his opinion.

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 12.2.1

        He was shy this morning- no interview on RNZ

        • tricledrown

          Key wouldn’t have had his spin doctors briefing from Cosby trickster the Aussie Lizard bellied low life lying company who will not be taking advice from goostepper.

      • miravox 12.2.2

        Yep, clearly it would be for

        really, really good reasons.

      • marty mars 12.2.3

        He’d just lie like he always does

      • tricledrown 12.2.4

        Cosby tricksters make Rolf Harris look good.

      • Tracey 12.2.5

        he is very shy on giving facts and truth though

      • Murray Rawshark 12.2.6

        It’s not worth asking Key anything because he lies. He may not be shy about giving an opinion, but it’s not guaranteed to be his, nor to be honest. This is why we need people like Snowden and Hager. It’s the only way we find out what our government is doing.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          How can an uninformed and misled electorate participate in democracy? Of course, it cannot, so all we have left really are the superficial trappings of democracy while all the ‘serious decisions’ are made by the in-crowd in the back rooms well out of sight.

    • Tracey 12.3

      Interesting timeline, thanks

  13. Do we have free and fair elections in this country? Or do we have so much money swilling around that in effect we have “bought and paid for ” elections?

    And does some or most of that money come in from the large corperations that want to own this country?

    Was the ‘economic coup’ of Roger Douglas a one off or the beginning of a trend?

    Why NZ?

    We have resources, many of them under our sea bed.

    Many of the 1% consider NZ to be a type of life boat for when their policies have completely stuffed the rest of the Planet.

    And we have form…we once showed the World, that a small aware population can give the Empires a two fingered salute.

    Spying of the type revelaed already is not for the security of the State, unless the State is now defined as the 1%. The “sniff it all” spying we are now paying for instead of fixing leaky hospitals say is to get info to blackmail people …to add another tool to the control kit.

    Why else would the SIS have people behind the scenes in the casinos?

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.1

      Do we have free and fair elections in this country? Or do we have so much money swilling around that in effect we have “bought and paid for ” elections?

      I think our elections are free and fair, but I also think that we must NEVER go to online or electronic voting.

      It’s the “dirty politics” before the election which is definitely not free and fair. For instance, any MP in Parliament who is having an extra-marital affair – if you’ve used txt or email to arrange an illicit meet up, or had a smart phone on you when you went to that meet up – you are already compromised to the intelligence services.

      The suspicion is that they screwed General Patreaus in exactly this way. No one is safe once you get off side.

      This is how actual democracy ends and a surveillance and security state which appears like a democracy is quietly installed in place.

      • nadis 13.1.1

        What happened with Petraeus? What did he do to get offside with “them? He was so integral to the development of the US approach to intelligence and counter-terrorism I can’t imagine he is offside withthe US establishment. In fact the clamour from reppublicans and democrats for his pardon and reinstatement is notable. It is actually the US army who (publicly at least) has said see you later.

        I thought the simple story was that he got led astray by his dick, his mistress went psycho at another women she was jealous of and the cyber stalking of that women led to the mistresses email account being investigated by the FBI which led to the discovery of classified information sent to her by Petraeus. If anything the initial response of the FBI and the US Army – victimising Jill Kelley, looks like an attempt to protect Petraeus rather than hang him out.

        Looks like Petraeus has just reached a plea bargain: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/03/david-petraeus-paula-broadwell/24312109/

        My bet is that he will be pardoned by Obama next year, and will be back as a special adviser and eventuaqlly as a politician.

      • saveNZ 13.1.2

        Totally agree. Electronic voting is not safe under any circumstances.

        I don’t think the last election was free and fair. 3 prominent sports people tweeting for National when they had been given funding. Not acceptable!

        Everyone has a private life that should be private unless it involves some sort of corruption.

        Democracy has been eroded in this country and just like other measures, often freedoms won, have to be fought for again and again.

    • thatguynz 13.2

      I’m truly interested in knowing more about “Why else would the SIS have people behind the scenes in the casinos?”. Do you have more details?

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.3

      Many of the 1% consider NZ to be a type of life boat for when their policies have completely stuffed the rest of the Planet.

      Bear in mind that most of the 1% are unremarkable, though successful professionals and small business people. If you like, they are the (disposable) enablers of the true multi-millionaire and billionaire class.

      It’s the 0.01% and especially the 0.001% that we need to watch out for.

  14. ankerawshark 14


    And this from my hero at the Herald, David Fisher. One of the few journalist’s there with integrity.

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 14.1

      +1 Great job David Fisher.

      It is clear that NZ is simply an outpost of the US as regards surveillance.
      The signing of the TPPA would virtually complete the takeover. Look for the stars and stripes as a flag option!

    • Colonial Rawshark 14.2

      The one point that Fisher doesn’t quite get around to mentioning is that mass surveillance *weakens* anti-terrorism efforts by burying intelligence agencies in so much data that their analysts are simply overwhelmed. That is why things like the Boston Bombing, the Fort Hood shootings, the Charlie Hebdo killings and the UK school girls running away to Syria after talking to a known terrorist on FaceBook still occur and will keep occurring.

      Mass surveillance is great for targeting problem people you already know about or after the fact, though.

      • Tracey 14.2.1

        ^^^^^^ this

        scattergun is wasting time and energy and defeating the alleged purpose

  15. Tautoko Mangō Mata 15

    It would appear that trying to save your own country from exploitation both environmentally and politically is now considered potentially treasonous by an agency, (GCSB) which we, the public, fund. We are the enemy and need to surveilled!

    If you are incensed by the scope of the surveillance exposed today and realise that John Key has allowed this to occur, then you need to seriously consider the fact that signing the TPPA will even further reduce our ability to make our own laws in NZ as additional pressure can be applied by large multicorporations which have largely taken over USA. We don’t want to give away any more rights. We need to take back the rights to privacy that have been secretly stolen from us with the help of John Key in exchange for who knows what?

    Please join in the anti TPPA protest marches on Saturday, 7 March.

    Auckland – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-auckland/
    Hamilton – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/tppa-no-deal-hamilton/
    Whitianga – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/tppa-no-deal-whitianga/
    Tauranga – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-tauranga/
    Rotorua – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-rotorua/
    Napier – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-napier/
    Gisborne – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-gisborne/
    Palmerston North – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-palmerston-north/
    Whanganui – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-whanganui/
    Levin – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-levin/
    Wellington – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-wellington/
    Nelson – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-nelson/
    Hokitika – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/tppa-no-deal-hokitika-2/
    Christchurch – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-christchurch/
    Timaru – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-timaru/
    Dunedin – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march-dunedin/
    Invercargill – http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/tppa-no-deal-invercargill/

    • Gosman 15.1

      Massively off topic i would suggest as spying on people in the Pacific has nowt to do with the TPPA.

      • Murray Rawshark 15.1.1

        Wrong Goosemann. Both tie us more firmly to the American empire, although I’m not surprised that you can’t see it. Or more likely, see it and celebrate the tendency.

    • saveNZ 15.2

      For those of all political creeds, unite as TPP will be the sale of NZ on a massive scale.

      Even the right wingers in the US don’t agree with it.

      So if both right and left don’t agree, and the public don’t agree, and nobody is allowed to know what is being agreed, why are governments thinking of signing it?

  16. Ian H 16

    There is a byelection on and … oh look. It’s Nicky Hager trying to screw the political scrum. What a surprise.

    • vto 16.1

      John Key is talking and … oh look, nothing but bullshit and absolute lies. What a surprise.

      Good on Hager for getting all required information into the public arena so people can make informed decisions, rather than uninformed knee-jerks

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.2

      There is a byelection on and … oh look. It’s Nicky Hager trying to screw the political scrum. What a surprise.

      Please explain how you think telling the truth about mass surveillance on our friends affects the Northland by-election.

      Take your time to go into detail.

    • tricledrown 16.3

      Surprise all the right wingers are screwing John Keys bum.

    • Tracey 16.4

      Surprise, a Key supporter has no idea what is really important to Northlanders and doesnt care that Key and the National party screwed Northlanders by keeping a VERY big secret about their candidate prior to and after the election. What a surprise.

  17. Chooky 17

    This puts it all quite well i think…NZ spies for USA ..and USA is beholden to whom?

    …as some of the comments indicate….not necessarily the American people


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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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