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The teapot tapes and Andrea Vance’s emails

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, August 4th, 2013 - 44 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, john key - Tags: , ,

john banks key shonkey wonderland teapot party

The Herald this morning reported on how the police obtained a search warrant to seize Teapot taper Bradley Ambrose’s text messages.  Law Professor Bill Hodge described the obtaining the warrant as mind boggling.

As Hodge said:

Why in hell would they have those, for what investigatory purpose?

The police do have the capacity to get a warrant. I wouldn’t have thought this was a case that required text messages.

Lawyer Ron Mansfield elegantly described the problem.

I think the police access to communications is too freely given and not sufficiently monitored … [i]t’s time we reviewed this important issue of privacy as a community. We need to determine what is appropriate and how it is protected.

I would steadfastly fight to maintain my clients’ ability to communicate with me without fear of those communications being intercepted or obtained by the police. Clients have to be able to communicate freely and frankly.

How a warrant to seize texts belonging to a reporter including texts to and from his lawyer could be issued needs to be investigated because it is wrong at many levels.  Freedom of the press means that warrants should only be granted in the most extreme of situations for instance where human life is at stake, not where the Prime Minister is going to be politically embarassed.  Legal professional privilege was trashed.  This is a good lesson for lawyers that they should ensure that texts are innocuous in the extreme.  And you have to wonder about what prosecutorial benefit the texts would provide.

The episode jars with Andrea Vance’s and Peter Dunne’s treatment.  Faced with two similar situation Key acted in completely opposite ways.  Where it was his privacy being arguably breached he used the forces of the state to hound the person who had, innocently in my view, intercepted the information.  But where he faced political embarassment by leaks he chose to trash the rights of privacy of others in an attempt to find the leaker.

If the GCSB bill is passed the security forces will be able to pretty well as a matter of course engage in the sort of behaviour that Ambrose was alleged to have engaged in.

Key has stated that if we have nothing to fear we have nothing to hide.  What did he fear from the disclosure of the teapot tapes?

44 comments on “The teapot tapes and Andrea Vance’s emails ”

  1. Paul 1

    I think you could add Jon Stephenson and the NZDF in this review of the govenrement’s disregard of democracy and surveillance of the media.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Agreed Paul that the Stephenson case deserves much more analysis. I thought that Key’s comments about Stephenson of themselves bordered on the defamatory. The spying that occurred on him is another example of a very worrying trend involving the marginalisation and denigration of the independent media.

      • AmaKiwi 1.1.1

        I have just seen the John Stephenson movie about NZ in Afghanistan at the film festival.

        It is obvious why the NZ government wants this journalist discredited, silenced, ignored. He exposes spin lies and boldfaced lies.

        Spin Lie: Baniyan was NOT some sort of humanitarian rebuilding project. Some public buidlings were built, but Baniyan was the base for NZDF long range armed reconnaissance missions far into the surrounding countryside.

        Boldfaced Lies: The SAS in Kabul were “mentoring” Afghan soldiers. They followed them into battle but did not lead.

        According to evidence in the film, the SAS go on missions entirely by themselves. Americans give our SAS “targets.” Needless to say, said “targets” do not have long life expectancies.

  2. Craig Glen viper 2

    You are 100% correct Mickey if its good enough for the Prime Minister to have privacy over a cup of tea why is it not so for you and me?

  3. Phil 3

    As pointed out by Ms Coddington back in 2012 the founding principle of the ACT party appears somewhat at odds with the Banksters statement at the second reading of the bill that “Act and the people of Epsom support the bill”.
    Principle 1.
    that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent rights and responsibilities; and
    that the proper purpose of government is to protect such rights and not to assume such responsibilities.
    Hmm, where all those Epsom Libertarians at these days?

    • paul andersen 3.1

      thats a bloody good question, where are the epsom libertarians? I suspect there never were any libertarians in epsom, only greedy property owners, looking to pull the ladder up after themselves.

      • Phil 3.1.1

        That remark sir, is close to scurrilous. The rotten borough of “Auckland Docks On The Hill” will always be a bastion of Libertarian Freedom, it’s just that the meaning of the word Freedom has a certain fluidity in Epsom.

        • AmaKiwi 3.1.1.1

          Remember Operation Iraqi Freedom? I always love it when certain Americans claim they are defending freedom. My freedom to be killed by your drones!

  4. Adrian 4

    A young man in a South Island centre put himself forward as standing for council elections, he’s had the usual hassles and struggles but wants to warn others about wrong options etc. And then last week the local Police released his Police record, a couple of Drunk in Publics, a cannabis conviction ( 6 in a car, a couple of joints on the floor, no money for a lawyer = 6 convictions ), result.. pulled out of the election.
    What fucking right have they to interfere in the Democratic Process in such a way.
    I have always told my kids… never, never trust the Police, they are worse than those they are supposed to be protecting us from.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      So what sorts of convictions are you happy for an elected official to have, and what sorts of convictions are you unhappy for them to have?

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1.1

        Anything that can attract a two-or-more year sentence seems about right to me.

        • Akldnut 4.1.1.1

          2 year sentence sounds about right, but would that be retrospective on today’s sentencing laws, under the 3 strike law he may still be in jail.

          • North 4.1.1.1.1

            Don’t think the 3 strike law applies to offending with a maximum sentence not exceeding 2 years. If that’s right the 3 strike scenario wouldn’t apply in any event.

      • Murray Olsen 4.1.2

        I’m happy for them to have any number and type of convictions. If they meet my other criteria, they get my vote. I get one vote, the same as everyone else.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1

          So if they “meet [your] other criteria”, you’d happily vote for a serial killer? Weird.

          • Murray Olsen 4.1.2.1.1

            Serial killers are unlikely to be free in the community and standing for election, unless they’re from the SAS and did their killing officially. I wouldn’t vote for them in that case.

          • North 4.1.2.1.2

            Lanthanide……..there is such a thing as utterly illogical and risible extension. That’s the bullshit the right wing idiots get up to. Not you I’d hoped. Smoking dope to serial murder.

            Get off the “grass” !

            • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1.2.1

              I just found it rather strange that Murray doesn’t take into consideration criminal convictions, instead he’s letting the criminals self-select themselves out of the race.

      • Rhinocrates 4.1.3

        So what sorts of convictions are you happy for an elected official to have, and what sorts of convictions are you unhappy for them to have?

        I forget who said it, but “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” I know people with serious criminal records whom I’d trust more in authority because they’ve learned from their lives the right lesson (“life’s tough, but we can make choices, and I know that other’s face challenges too”), unlike the likes of Key who have learned all the wrong lesson (“what you can get away with is right”).

        There’s someone I know who said his youth was exactly like A Clockwork Orange and who is doing real good now with young people who might have followed his path.

        The Keys of this world have only learned that they can do more of the same as long as they have shiny suits, wristwatches as big as dinner plates and smirk a lot.

        I look to Dante’s architecture of Hell as a guide – there he differentiates between crimes of passion and crimes of malice. Crimes of passion can be regretted, and often soon are, but crimes of malice arise from a corrupt soul.

        Can you guess who I’d vote for?

    • AmaKiwi 4.2

      I believe the most effective police are those who understand the criminal mind. It’s a love/hate situation. We NEED those police who can think like crims.

  5. Blue 5

    The sentence of the Herald article which made me angriest was this:

    The text messages appear to confirm that the recording was inadvertent, not a deliberate News of the World-style conspiracy as Key had claimed.

    And yet the police publicly announced that in their view Ambrose was ‘probably’ guilty of deliberately recording the conversation.

    Bastards. Just utter fucking bastards.

    • Rhinocrates 5.1

      Yep. Know some women who’ve forced out of the force for being female and queer, beaten to the point of permanent brain damage at legitimate protests, stalked via their databases for daring to divorce a police contractor. They’re the Mongrel Mob in blue with better equipment and a state sanction.

      As you say: bastards. Just utter fucking bastards.

      And civil society depends on having a police force that is representative and trusted.

      Be afraid.

    • Rhinocrates 5.2

      Yep. Know some women who’ve forced out of the force for being female and queer, beaten to the point of permanent brain damage at legitimate protests, stalked via their databases for daring to divorce. They’re the Mongrel Mob in blue with better equipment and a state sanction.

      As you say, bastards. Just utter fucking bastards.

      And civil society depends on having a police force that is representative and trusted.

      Be afraid.

  6. BrucetheMoose 6

    Apparently The Two Jonnies had another cup of tea/coffee/collusion the other day. This time more private. In the fashion that Johnny (smiley version) prefers nowadays – the sneaky backroom style. Works for The Mafia. I guess the isolated park bench is a bit beneath these two.
    By the way, the whole “if we have nothing to fear we have nothing to hide” notion was how the Nazis slipped the whole SS/Gestapo thing under the door of the general German populace. It then became their standardised company operational mantra. Not sure about others, but I’m so not too enthusiastic on using that is a plausible reason to remodel our security services and laws.

  7. BrucetheMoose 7

    Apparently The Two Jonnies had another cup of tea/coffee/collusion the other day. This time more private. In the fashion that Johnny (smiley version) prefers nowadays – the sneaky backroom style. Works for The Mafia. I guess the isolated park bench is a bit beneath these two.
    By the way, the whole “if we have nothing to fear we have nothing to hide” notion was how the Nazis slipped the whole SS/Gestapo thing under the door of the general German populace. It then became their standardised company operational mantra. Not sure about others, but I’m so not too enthusiastic on using that is a plausible reason to remodel our security services and laws.
    Yeh yeh, I know Godwin.

    • BLiP 7.1

      Godwin’s Law is just that – a Law, not a judgement. The fact that x number of internet comments will inevitably result in a reference to the Nazi’s or Hitler does not detract from the relevance and accuracy of such references. I guess, in this case, it could be deemed a “slippery slope” fallacy but I doubt you were inferring that concentration camps are the result of John Key’s promotion of his GCSB Bill. Certainly, that “nothing to fear nothing to hide” mantra was echoed with Goebbels promotion of his own reduction in civil liberties and John Key’s overall promotion of his GCSB Bill has been classic.

      John Key got off to a bad start. Jeffrey Palmer points to the legal push-back by Kim Dotcom to his extradition hearing as a key moment. It was then that we learned the GCSB had been illegally spying on New Zealanders. Then it turns out GCSB is being run by a mate of John Key’s. An inquiry then returns a scathing report highlighting an entrenched systematic routine of illegality based on a “convenient” interpretation of the law, an interpretation that was never properly examined until 2012. Then the report was leaked . . . and “subversives” and Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance, and the Prime Minister’s staff, and so on as we get closer and closer to John Key’s malfeasance.

      Meanwhile, the National Ltd™ government sets up the passing of two pieces of legislation aimed at making everything legal and no one responsible, especially John Key. Now a proven liar, and something of a bumbling incompetent mid-level management consultant rip-off artist, John Key has run out of credibility on this, or any, issue. He had no choice but to promote his GCSB Bill via PR rather than honest debate, discussion and public display of all the evidence. So far, we’ve had . . .

      – nothing to fear, nothing to hide

      – weapons of mass destruction

      – organised crime

      – “subversives” working the media

      – anonymous computer hackers

      – Al Qaeda terrorist New Zealanders training in Yemen

      – US issued terrorits alert

      . . . its all just bullshit. The Law Society, the Human Rights Commission, Privacy Commissioner, actual victims of the GCSB, and all manner of other New Zealanders object to the GCSB Bill because of specific concerns that need to be addressed before a government can justly impose such laws. Rather than address those concerns in any meaningful way, out come the ad hom – “uninformed” – and the lies – “you were late with your submission” – and the threats – “you wanna keep your funding, or not?”. Welcome to National Ltd™’s “brighter future” for New Zealand.

      I can’t quite picture the concentration camps just yet, although the pattern of public dialogue from those imposing the unjust laws does have a certain stench about it.

      • yeshe 7.1.1

        oh BLiP, how I wish you were wrong about our dangerous prime minister. Thnx for your clarity.

  8. One Anonymous Knucklehead 8

    I sense open source encryption software is going to become more popular among lawyers and accountants. I expect the medical profession will need to look at how to keep the Prime Minister’s Office out of their records too.

    • BLiP 8.1

      Why bother. I quite like David Shearer’s interim solution – just “cc: John Key” on *everything*. Cut out the middle-man and include him with every email, txt, Facebook post, and private chat.

    • Murray Olsen 8.2

      I suspect they’ll make using encryption software an offence if it ever becomes popular. They don’t just want the right to watch us, they want to make it illegal for us to close the curtains.

  9. BLiP 9

    The public: “So, you want to enable foreign-owned and corporate international spying on any New Zealander and all of those we are in contact with including any journalists the armed forces have secretly identified as subversive, and you want to do that in order to protect our civil liberties. Is that right?”

    John Key: “Yes.”

    The public: “What happens when there’s a mistake or rules get broken or innocents are woven into expensive legal actions or the spying is about internecine personal or political bullshit games?”

    John Key: “That won’t happen. Trust me.”

    The public: “Ummmmm . . . “

  10. Treetop 10

    Vance was always going to come up against Key.

    Pretend that the Kitteridge report was not leaked, the knowledge that 88 people had been spied on was going to be revealed. Key was not going to like what the media had to say. Key would not have had to appoint Henry to investigate who the leaker was and this would have saved him a lot of bother.

    The issue for me is that Key has shown that he demands to have privacy where he is concerned and when he feels as though his RIGHT to it has been interfered with he becomes protective of what he has said.

    So nothing to hide nothing to fear is not applied.

    A journalist’s job is to report the facts about an issue and for the public to make up their mind. In Vances case it is how the government have intruded on her correspondence in how she did her job, regardless of the Kitteridge report being leaked.

    Once the GCSB Bill is passed and a report is leaked or a journalist gets in his way,

    Will Key use the GCSB to find out who has crossed him and what action will he take and what will he tell the country?

    Will Key get a warrant signed to do this?

    • BLiP 10.1

      Will Key get a warrant signed to do this?

      Don’t be silly. His GCSB Bill actually obviates the need for a GCSB warrant to spy on New Zealanders. If he wanted to be legal about it he would just have to put up a case to the police, or the SIS, or the armed forces and they would obtain the warrant and no one would ever have to know it was done on John Key’s behalf. Also, pay attention: we’ve just found out, John Key doesn’t need to get a warrant to spy on his staff or fellow ministers or pesky Beehive journalists. He just writes the guidelines to an inquiry to be carried out on some flimsy pretence and then goes “ooops”. Can’t even bring himself to apologise.

      • Treetop 10.1.1

        “Will Key get a warrant signed to do this?”

        Notice that I didn’t say that a warrant would be required to spy.

        Dunne seems to think that he can put in an amendment that Key has to have a warrant signed and that Key will respect this.

  11. tracey 11

    That which is morally wrong can never be politically correct….

    irony is madame chiang kai shek said it

  12. tracey 12

    Does godwin discuss how long before someone is called a pinko a commie or a red?

  13. Sable 13

    The police are inextricably tied to the government and have no option save to do their bidding. Their needs to be more separation of powers so politicians can not use the police or other services inappropriately.

  14. yeshe 14

    This is deserves a link and re-post .. from Russell Brown’s blog, Toby writes on the Bradley Ambrose affair … MontyPythonesque perfection ….

    “Do I have this right?

    1. PM complains to police that man has deliberately intercepted his private communications.

    2. Police deliberately intercept man’s communications, which show that man did not deliberately intercept PM’s communications.

    3. Police insinuate that man deliberately intercepted PM’s communications.

    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/its-worse-than-you-think/

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