The PM’s private spy agency

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 pm, March 22nd, 2010 - 5 comments
Categories: john key, Spying - Tags:

No Right Turn writes on the changes in John Keys intelligence
system. Reproduced with permission.

While the public has been focusing on the acquittal of the Waihopai Three, there’s been a quiet revolution in our intelligence community. The Prime Minister has got himself a private spy agency.

OK, so he’s always kindof had one. Since 1990, the External Assessments Bureau, part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, has been providing assessments to the government on foreign events. This was pretty uncontroversial – EAB had no operational role, was focused strictly on analysing information, and its target was strictly foreigners. It could not be considered any form of threat to the New Zealand public.

Now, thanks to the Rugby World Cup, its been renamed the “National Assessments Bureau”, and has got itself a domestic focus. As well as looking at the politics of other countries, it will be looking at those of New Zealand. As well as looking at foreigners, it will also be “assessing”, and advising the government on, the beliefs, actions, and plans of New Zealanders.

This should be deeply worrying. The Police and SIS are bad enough, without another bunch of spooks sniffing everyone’s underwear as well. What’s worse is that the organisation has no statutory basis, and operates solely on the royal prerogative. Overseas – as with MI5 in the 70’s – that has been found to be a recipe for unlawful behaviour and gross human rights abuse.

The problem is compounded by the lack of oversight. Unlike the SIS and GCSB, the NAB is not subject to the “oversight” of the Intelligence and Security Committee, or of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. Not that those safeguards are worth very much – the ISC meets for about half an hour a year, where it is mushroomed by those it is supposed to oversee, while the Inspector-General has been shown to be just a pawn of the SIS. But NAB has no controls at all. It does not even have to issue an independent annual report giving a broad idea of the scope of its activities. And when they are assembling dossiers on New Zealanders for the Prime Minister’s consumption, that is simply unacceptable.

5 comments on “The PM’s private spy agency”

  1. freedom 1

    The really lucky part for us is that with the new warrantless search and surveillance laws they passed last month these guys don’t even have to worry about being caught when stomping on our rights. Throw in the new ‘safe kids’ Net filter, the flexible principles of our Prime Minister and the general leanings of his International Military Industrial Economic War buddies and we have a good old fashioned fascist state rolling out to greet the New World Order as they stride into town.

    even Paul Holmes asked two weeks ago on Q&A
    “what should our position be in the New World Order?”

  2. BLiP 2

    Well, for all the high-gadgetry, high-security, spying and prying, the Heroes of Waihopai can be an inspiration to us all.

  3. tc 3

    Maybe sideshow john can get himself a policy agency while he’s at it as the current one isn’t working.

  4. Bored 4

    Your average Joe wont give a monkeys, this does not affect him, it does not put bread on his table or help him aspire to the new shiny big black SUV he can show to his mates to prove that he is a top provider for his and his own……so long as Jonkey keeps the aspiring faithful to their vision of his delivery to them he can do as he pleases.

    Which in total means that the forces of reaction / paranoia within his camp can build the tools of repression quietly in the background. Jonkey neither understands this nor would he use them, hes a flunky soundbite smokescreen. The problem will come when an extreme event occurs, and some extremist from left or right will impose their vision of control with the happily at hand tools. “First they came for the…….then they came for me”.

  5. randal 5

    this is getting creepier by the minute!

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