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The smoke & mirrors of the surveillance-military-economic-complex

Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, May 21st, 2014 - 29 comments
Categories: accountability, afghanistan, democracy under attack, greens, john key, labour, same old national, Spying, trade, uk politics - Tags: , , ,

There are a range of issues in the main and secondary media, which are part of a GCSB-intelligence-surveillance-military-complex. Some significant elements seem to be posing as diversions from other parts of the complex, and the way all parts hang together. What will he offer Obama, to advance a NZ’s position in the TPPA?

socialist aotearoa fuck tppa

Most of the mainstream media are focusing on the drone issue.  They and politicians are keeping up the heat on John Key as to whether he and/or the GCSB have been complicit in providing intelligence resulting in US drones attacking drone strikes killing civilians and (at least one) Kiwis in Afghanistan Yemen.


Surprisingly, as micky savage points out, the MSM has pretty much ignored the significance of the extra details, and narrative produced by Campbell Live last night: a narrative that charts the shift of the GSCB’s main focus from military-based security, to include a strong focus on “economic” security.  This includes issues of digital copyright, as reflected in the Dotcom saga, as well as with significant aspects of the TPPA.

The Green Party and David Cunliffe have raised questions about why the PM is not going to be asking questions related to the drone issue, in his up coming meeting with Obama.  In contrast, Key has said the focus of his talks with Obama will be trade and the TPPA (see for instance Patrick Gower’s article on this).  Here, in plain sight, is an issue that, in the MSM today, is  not being treated as a major issue. This is at a time when the TPPA negotiations are at a  crucial point. Claire Trevett gives it passing mention:

A White House statement said the meeting will cover co-operation on matters from the Trans Tasman Pacific Partnership to military to military co-operation. Mr Key said that did not necessarily mean a visit by a US warship was in the near future.

[…]Mr Key said he would not raise issues of drone strikes or mass surveillance by intelligence agencies.

Jane Kelsey’s press release today, on her monitoring of the TPPA negotiations, has received little attention.

‘At the end of a two-day ministerial meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in Singapore it seems clearer than ever that New Zealand stands to get almost nothing if they do reach a deal, and we will pay a very high price in return’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey, who has been observing the meeting.

Today’s statement from the TPPA ministers had the familiar recycled rhetoric of “meaningful progress”, “narrowing remaining differences”, and “building momentum”.

‘There are signs of a possible breakthrough on the sticking point of agriculture. But that would fall far below Trade Minister Groser’s “gold standard” of comprehensive liberalisation for agriculture’, Kelsey said.

While Grosser has claimed he will not accept any major formal concessions on “medicine patents, copyright, or state-owned enterprises,” it is unclear how his lack of bargaining chips will result in significant positive results for NZ.  Kelsey concludes:

‘In return for what looks like an empty deal, New Zealand will still be expected to make major concessions on the rules for Pharmac, Internet freedom, regulating foreign investment and much more’.

The TPPA ministers announced a ‘pathway for intensified engagement’ in market access and rules, such as intellectual property and state-owned enterprises, includes another ‘chief negotiators’ meeting in early July. By not calling it ‘a round’ they can avoid the need for any formal stakeholder presence.

‘The question now is where the New Zealand government will draw its new red line, and what price it will make the country pay for a deal that delivers few, if any, tangible returns’.

So what can Key possibly achieve in his talks with Obama on trade?  And does he think he has some major bargaining chips?  Some TPPA concessions for NZ in response to Key holding the line in support of the US government and intelligence services with respect to drones, digital surveillance, etc?

key Obama

  • As pointed out byghostwhowalksnz, Clapper is labelled “top NSA spook” by Dotcom, in the Twitter image. He is Director of National Intelligence (DNI).  He does not have information about all the details of operational matters of the NSA, but has overall responsibility for the NSA and  other US intelligence agencies.


29 comments on “The smoke & mirrors of the surveillance-military-economic-complex”

  1. Philj 1

    ” You see John, it’s just like this ….”

  2. Tracey 2

    the thing is, i have a caddy already

  3. Clemgeopin 3

    I thought that during the parliamentary question time today, Cunliffe’s grilling of Key regarding the GCSB issue was weak and Key’s mumbling answers were even weaker.

    The questions should be specific, single and sharp, avoiding two parts, which gives Key the advantage of wriggling out easily by answering just the easier part.

    The opposition needs to be smart and incisive in its razor sharp questioning. .

    • karol 3.1

      It may not be the right time because Key would have been well prepared for any questions on the topic. There were some interesting points in the replies. Basically, Key fell back on his memory (which he indicates may be faulty).

      Hon David Cunliffe: Why did he state on 4 April 2013 that the role he played in Ian Fletcher’s appointment as head of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was “Only that the State Services Commissioner came to me”—came to me—“with the recommendation.”, when in fact he personally phoned him to encourage him to apply for the job?

      Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because at the time I was asked in the House that was my recollection. At the end of the day, it was my appointment anyway.

      Hon David Cunliffe: Who organised the breakfast meetings on 17 June 2011 and 12 March 2010 between him and Ian Fletcher at the Stamford Plaza and Hyatt Regency respectively?

      Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot be 100 percent sure, but, to the best of my recollection, it would be my office.

      Hon David Cunliffe: Given that, to the best of his recollection, his office organised both meetings, is it correct that the 17 June breakfast was held 3 days after he signed off on the interview panel for the GCSB director’s position and 3 weeks before the existing shortlist of candidates for that position was scrapped; if so, does he still claim that the GCSB role was not discussed with Mr Fletcher at that breakfast?

      Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In answer to the last part of the question, yes.

      Hon David Cunliffe: Was anyone from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet or his office present at the meeting held on 14 December 2011 to brief on Operation Debut against Mr Kim Dotcom?

      Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, no one from my office was. I cannot be sure whether the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet had a representative there.

      So if they didn’t discuss the GCSB role, what did they discussed? It could have been things to do with surveillance, the NSA, etc…?

      Cunliffe then went on to the topic of the GCSB sharing information about New Zealanders with our partners. This is related to the broader role of the GCSB and the shift in its focus which began with the lead up to fletcher’s appointment.

      It is interesting that Key fudges this point. This indicates some issues of significance re the PM’s and/or other ministers jobs were liekly discussed.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      Agree here.
      None of the questions were on notice, it was just a generic stand by your answers thing.

      Key obviously didnt bother to get answers to possible questions and if he did ignored his briefing and just gave generic answers that could apply to any meeting.

  4. Anne 4

    I’ve been pondering the question:

    Why is the MSM ignoring the matters arising out of the Campbell Live programme?

    Is it too big for them so they’ve decided to look the other way?
    Are they scared to report on it because their bosses (MSM and political) won’t like it and they might lose their positions?
    Is it professional jealousy because they didn’t have the gumption to do it?
    Is it too complicated for them to get their heads around it so they’ve decided to ignore it?
    Or are they just showing their political prejudices in favour of the Key government.

    Is it one of these in particular or a bit of all of them?

    • Clemgeopin 4.1

      Yes, it is strange and enigmatic! What Campbell revealed was a matter of very serious nature, involving the PM’s integrity and misleading of parliament and the public. Perhaps the MSM is waiting for some more revelations before taking up the issue? Of course, a lot of political journalists and commentators in the MSM seem to enamored by Key for some reason. We have quite an inefficient, uncritical, un-analysing and lazy fourth estate in this country, who seem to be more interested in minor issues generally!

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Why is the MSM ignoring the matters arising out of the Campbell Live programme?

      Senior editors don’t want to run with it.

      • Anne 4.2.1

        That’s the short answer CV. But I want to know the reason they don’t want to run with it. For example, have they been warned not to run with it? A brief word in one person’s ear and a few text messages is all it would take.

        • karol

          Trotter makes some good points on this.

          For me, the most significant thing about CL last night was the narrative it constructed about the shifts in NZ intelligence and surveillance under Key’s watch – cosying up to the US, and the shift towards economic or commercially-based surveillance, digital copyright, etc.

          This is where the TPPA comes in as a significant issue re-Key’s trip to visit Obama.

          Cunliffe was focusing more on the drones issue.

          • Anne

            Trotter makes some good points on this.

            Yes he does karol. That is why I am suspicious of the MSM’s avoidance of the issue. I suspect they’ve been tipped off to keep their mouths shut or else… There are subtle ways of doing this without issuing direct threats.

            It makes a nonsense of the claim that NZ is corruption-free.

            • karol

              This evening, Audrey Young, channeling John Key has launched an attack on John Campbell:

              Prime Minister John Key has accused TV3 broadcaster John Campbell of falling for conspiracy theories in the wake of Campbell Live show on Tuesday about the unlawful surveillance of internet mogul Kim Dotcom by the GCSB spy agency and the appointment of its chief, Ian Fletcher.

              Mr Key suggested facetiously that Campbell turn next to whether US President Barack Obama was born in the United States, whether the American Government was behind the September 11 attacks and who killed the Kennedys.

              “I’ve had some respect for John,” Key said to reporters at Parliament, “but when you do, I suppose, two years and come up with absolutely nada, what you do is what he did which was set a whole lot of assumptions to music.

              “The first I ever heard of Kim Dotcom was the 19th of January 2012.”
              “I can’t tell you exactly everything we talked about because I would never say that,” Mr Key said “but I can tell what we didn’t talk about.

              “We didn’t talk about Kim Dotcom because it is impossible to talk about someone you don’t know.”

              Mr Dotcom tweeted this after that that was “the logic of a liar.”

              Kim Dotcom insists he has proof that Mr Key is lying when he says he first heard about him on January 19, the day before his Coatesville mansion was raided by the FBI and that the proof will force Mr Key to resign.

              And the clincher from Key, attacking Dotcom’s claim in court that Banks had talked to Key about Dotcom’s firework display at New Years eve in Auckland:

              Mr Key said he had “no idea what John Banks said to Kim Dotcom but all I know is he has never spoken to me about going to fireworks.”
              He would never go to such fireworks anyway because he always spent Christmas and New Year in Hawaii.

              What with Key’s shunning of NZ holidays, and citing US conspiracy theories…… all adds up to supporting the narrative in Campbell Live, showing how much Key was cosying up to and following the US govenrment.

              • Anne

                This evening, Audrey Young, channeling John Key has launched an attack on John Campbell

                I’m sure John Campbell is expecting it, and coming from Tory girl Audrey Young (Daddy an ex Nat minister and brother a Nat MP) he won’t be too bothered.

                • karol

                  When I have time, … which won’t be for a day or two, I might do a post showing how Young has unwittingly reinforced the suck-up-to-the-US narrative presented in Campbell Live.

                  John Key, claiming to be the typical Kiwi bloke, trots out US conspiracy theories, sucks up to powerful Americans, and runs of to Hawaii at every chance.

                  • Anne

                    I might do a post showing how Young has unwittingly reinforced the suck-up-to-the-US narrative presented in Campbell Live.

                    Good one karol.

                    Whenever trolls (and Key is our top troll) are lying or don’t have an answer they trot out the conspiracy theorist jibe. Like Richard Nixon, he will get his comeuppance in due course.

              • Tracey

                The chronology as stated by Karol (summarising CL) and BLiP’s links to actual quotes of John key are not fabrication.

                As those of you who have read here the last couple of days have seen, my own interest is the denial of Key being the one to suggest Fletcher and telling Rennie he would contact Fletcher following their meeting about the unsuitability of the short listed candidates. And then doing so.

                I haven’t seen anyone provide any plausible explanation, apart from John Key forgot. But that is NOT plausible because it was not a cabinet club meeting to fundraise, or a dinner at Antoine’s or even a golf fundraiser, it was a meeting to talking about appointing the new head of the GCSB, for which Key has Ministerial responsibility. It is not, I submit, plausible that he did not remember.

                His answer reminds me of Paula Bennett when asked about the cabinet club by a reporter… it looked like she couldnt remember whether it was se cret to be covere dup or not, so she defaulted to lying.

          • freedom

            With the TPPA being just one of the handful of new global [empire] treaties being written that the USA is central to, it makes one wonder, what other countries have had new spy bosses installed?

          • Wayne


            The visits etc have been occurring for many years and is an integral part of the “5 eyes” relationship. And I really don’t think it has much to do with TPPA.

            But I am sure TPPA will be a central discussion topic on the the PM’s visit to the US. It is after all the strategic economic initiative that the US has in respect of its Asia Pacific relationships. But it will only happen if everyone thinks they are getting something worthwhile out of it. The Us cannot force the other states into it – it requires give and take by everyone.

            • Tracey

              but will john remember any of it afterwards

            • Draco T Bastard

              But it will only happen if everyone thinks they are getting something worthwhile out of it.

              But that’s not true is it Wayne? Not everyone is in on the discussions and, from what we’ve seen of the actions of this government, they’re more than happy to go against the interests of NZ for US corporates.

        • Paul

          They’re running with it.
          They’re just running with John Key like the repeaters, lapdogs and poodles they are….


          And TVNZ pretending it never happened.

  5. A.Ziffel 5

    “providing intelligence resulting in US drones attacking civilians and Kiwis in Afghanistan.”

    Kiwis in Afghanistan attacked by U.S. drones, really?

  6. greywarbler 6


  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    There is a major error in the job description of ‘top NSA spook James Clapper’

    He is not head of the NSA nor is he head of the CIA, he is Director of National Intelligence ( DNI) which is a coordination body , nominally in charge of the NSA and CIA and the whole alphabet soup of US intelligence archipelago.( Around 16 different bodies) plus reporting to the President.

    He previously had been had been in charge of DIA ( Defence Intelligence Agency, the military)

    There is no way Clapper would have been aware of any detailed observation targets like Dotcom.

    When you are trying to get specifics nailed down this is a major fail, and really blows any link to Clapper and the Key GCSB circus.

    GCSB is just a tiny atoll in the NSA lagoon.

    • karol 7.1

      Well, I have added a note to the post. That quote about top spook is from Dotcom’s Twitter. I have read him before referring to Clapper in that way.

      He may not have knowledge of all operational matters, but he is an important figure in the narrative about the change of direction of the GCSB under Key’s watch.

  8. Instauration 8

    Sorry Karol
    But if you reference of; “drone strikes killing civilians and (at least one) Kiwis in Afghanistan.”
    refers to the Kiwi “Daryl Jones” – he was murdered in Yemen, not Afghanistan.
    Yemen is not an acknowledged theatre of war.

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