5AA Australia: Weekly NZ News Round-up: Matt McCarten + GCSB Trained In Honey-Trap Ops

5AA's Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.

Peter-Godfrey-Selwyn-Manning-cdnIn this week’s Across The Ditch bulletin, Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey discuss the week’s big issues, including: Labour leader David Cunliffe appointing Matt McCarten as chief of staff. Plus… NZ’s Spies taught honey trap tricks by their UK counterparts.

After flat-lining in the polls for the past month, Labour’s leader David Cunliffe has appointed Matt McCarten as his chief of staff.

McCarten is a staunch unionist, and former president of the left leaning party, The Alliance – a party that helped launch Helen Clark’s three-term government in 1999.

Cunliffe’s appointment is shrewd. Matt McCarten’s credentials are without dispute – he is an advocate for the lowly paid and struggling families. He is a committed socialist, and a cunning negotiator.

McCarten grew up as a state ward, and as such he was shifted from foster home, to foster home, back and forth into state care through his formative years. But rather than become institutionalised, he emerged from that experience with the skills that make him one of New Zealand’s most talented political strategists, and the union movements most skilled organisers.

His appointment signals to members of Labour’s caucus that if they do not give the party and its leader 100 percent commitment, then McCarten will be knocking on their door, asking questions, and dealing out consequences.

It also signals to New Zealand’s 800,000 people who chose not to vote in 2011, that this new Labour leader is determined to be their representative. With McCarten onside, a large proportion of those who have found themselves estranged from political representation, may just listen.

This move appears to have rattled Prime Minister John Key, who has relished battling Cunliffe on the political centre ground. Key occupies that space with a confidence not seen in New Zealand for decades. And so he should, his party polled over 50 percent in a recent TV One Colmar Brunton poll. This after a series of other polls showing any gains the Labour-led opposition had notched up late last year, had been eroded by Key’s Nationals over the holiday period.

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But this week’s move by Cunliffe, to take the political narrative to a New Zealand that many choose to ignore, forces Key and the Nationals onto shaky un-tested ground.

Cunliffe’s gambit will be as former Labour Party president Mike Williams said, a stroke of brilliance or complete lunacy.

With McCarten at his side, Cunliffe looks all the more confident. And that alone is likely to cause the Nationals to acquire a large dose of unease.

ALSO: documents have surfaced on how Kiwi spooks were taught by their Five eyes network counterparts on how to use old cold war tactics against New Zealanders online.

A series of briefing documents released by author and journalist Glenn Greenwald, in cooperation with Edward Snowden, show how Kiwi GCSB spies were trained by Britain’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group on the finer points of psy-ops.

The documents, including slides, show how JTRIG sent computer viruses, caused people’s computers to crash, deleted their emails, made their screens flicker, deleted the identities of targets, conducted “honey traps” where they seduced people they wanted to discredit or control.

Further leaks of the classified information is expected… However, New Zealand’s prime minister John Key is comfortable about that. He said yesterday: “I don’t know what Snowden has … what they chose to release and when, who knows?” Key said.

“They are of no great consequence, I don’t think.”

Crazy stuff…

Across The Ditch broadcasts live weekly on 5AA.com.au and webcasts on TheDailyBlog, LiveNews.co.nz, and ForeignAffairs.co.nz.


  1. This honey trap revelation makes me wonder about Len Brown. I’m not excusing his stupidity, much less his corporate instincts, but could it have been a setup from the start?

  2. How healthy is it to peer further into this wormhole? The US is probably pro-Key, because released State dept documents paint Key as pro-American. Key is probably also seen as pro TPP, pro copyright, pro big oil, and the US is very very keen to get stronger copyright put into the TPP, that is being negotiated so secretly, and the Greens are so critical of. Key is also anti-Greens, to a disturbing degree, jumping on their money printing ideas, when the US has know been money printing for years. Harsher copyright sanctions have already crept into NZ, under the 3 strikes Internet copyright rules.

    Could the US leadership being doing more for Key than just providing entertaining rounds of golf? Historically the US has form when it comes to regime manipulation, even knocking people off, to get their favoured guy in charge. Is this the direction the ducks are aligning? It only requires a few hops, to start wondering how Key would react to a revelation of the intimated nature, from Moscow for example. Would he do the right thing and immediately step down, or would he go with the flow that benefits his aims, and deny deny deny?
    How much knowledge of all manner of skulduggery could rank and file National MP’s suspect, who are leaving in unprecedented numbers (10) during election year?

    As an example, just where does a certain blogger very close to the National party, keep getting so many unexplained tipoffs from? One tipoff about Len. Another about who visited a Coatesville mansion that is almost certainly under surveillance. Is the blogger discovering crumpled up messages left in his letterbox, ala “a beautiful mind?” How long can Key laugh off such concerns, and not lance a spy boil before it bursts?

    Broad real-time monitoring and intervention in social networking using the Squeaky dolphin, AntiCrisis Girl, Newtons Cat, Fire Ant, programs described in the GCHQ SIGDEV document. US Xkeyscore god terminals, and covert code incorporated into ms-windows, and US govt data centres recording communications, that use more electricity than small towns. The interception of yahoo video messaging reported in the media, a recent example of the creeping loss of privacy. It seems that just clicking on a suspect website, may now reward you with a spy agency file with your name on it!

    The opposition calls for a review of the spooks, to get a clean slate and properly establish a definition of right and wrong that the public is happy with, before moving forward minus Keys schoolyard ally, is looking more needed all the time. Who is a vote for Key, really a vote for? I spy with my little eye, something beginning with U and ending with S. Below is a twitter message from a concerned Coatesville resident today:

    Kim Dotcom ‏@KimDotcom 14h Hey spies on my case. Aren’t u the lucky ones? It never gets boring, right? *screen flashes green 18 times* My biggest fans 🙂

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