A Favourable Reference: Why John Key’s biggest enemy is the Left’s friend.



“IF HITLER INVADED HELL I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” Winston Churchill’s famous quip, directed at the hard-line anti-communist MPs of his own Conservative Party, followed Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Churchill recognised immediately the urgent strategic need for Britain to range itself unequivocally alongside Stalin. If the Soviets could hold off Hitler’s blitzkrieg until the Russian winter, then his Nazi regime would face an intensifying war on two fronts – Germany’s worst strategic nightmare. The invasion wasn’t quite as good news as the USA entering the war (that would follow in December) but it was close.

Inevitably, however, there were rumblings from the extreme Tory Right. A number of Churchill’s critics had been involved in the British intervention of 1919-21, during which British troops and British spies (including one Sidney Reilly) did their best to bring down the Bolshevik government of V.I. Lenin.

If the hard-liners had their way, Britain would have made peace with Hitler and backed his assault on the communist enemy. Churchill’s brilliant quip was an imaginative repackaging of the old adage “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Not only was it intended to silence the mutterings of the Tory ultras, but also to remind the British people that one thing, and only one thing, mattered: the complete and utter destruction of Hitler and the Nazi regime.

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I’m drawing on this timely (last Friday was D-Day) anecdote because it illustrates the importance of strategic clarity – a quality severely lacking in the left-wing critics of Kim Dotcom, the Internet-Mana Party alliance, and their media supporters.

The Right’s unrelenting assault on Kim Dotcom should have alerted the whole of the Left to the possibility that the man and his money could be engaged, if not to their own advantage, then, at the very least, to their enemies’disadvantage. Those who took the trouble to observe Dotcom’s performance during the anti-GCSB protests of 2013 witnessed a thoughtful and extremely shrewd individual whose devil-may-care lifestyle had been shattered by the US-sponsored Police raid on his home in January 2012. In the terminology of the intelligence agencies, here was a man who, if he hadn’t already been “turned” by his experiences, was very obviously ready for “turning”.

The Right recognised this possibility far sooner than the Left – which is why their blackguarding of the man became so vicious and unrelenting. Thwarted in their attempts to get him out of the country quickly and quietly, and severely embarrassed by his exposure of the GCSB’s illegal involvement in his surveillance, it was vital that Kim Dotcom be transformed into a hate figure from whom all decent New Zealanders should run a mile.

For those on the Left with a keen historical sense, the demonization of Dotcom should have raised a whole forest of warning flags. Individuals and institutions are only demonized in this fashion after they’ve been identified as clear and present dangers to the Right’s political hegemony.

The National Party and its media surrogates went after Kim Dotcom in exactly the same way that the US Right went after left-wing artists, intellectuals and trade unionists in the late-1940s and early-1950s. Their antipathy towards the large-living German IT entrepreneur was not based upon the fact that he had a criminal record (they knew that when they granted him permanent residency) but because their botched attempt to have him extradited to the US had transformed him (and his fortune) into a folk hero – and potential ally of the Left.

The Internet Party was proof that the potentiality of an alliance with the Left was on the cusp of becoming a reality. Accordingly, the Right set about strangling the infant political organisation in its cradle. But, in doing so they could not hide the fact that Dotcom’s American and New Zealand persecutors were still hard at work. Clearly, he remained under close surveillance in his Coatesville mansion, and, equally clearly, international law enforcement agencies were still assembling and releasing whatever they could lay their hands on that would contribute to the blackening of Dotcom’s character, the destruction of his credibility, or both.

He was accused of having Nazi sympathies (why else would he possess a signed copy of Mein Kampf?) and the details of his wife’s, Mona’s, past as a Filipino glamour girl, were posted on the Internet. The Right complained loudly about the way he treated his former business associates and employees – even as they pumped these same individuals for incriminating information concerning Dotcom’s colourful past.

And still the amiable giant – like a Germanic version of Jonah Lomu – rolled over the top of his enemies; moving steadily across the field from Right to Left.

It was at this point that Hone Harawira, demonstrating all the strategic and tactical fighting skills of his Ngapuhi ancestors, reached out to Dotcom with an offer that neither party could refuse. Availing themselves of the same sections of the Electoral Act that validated the Alliance’s participation in the 1996, 1999 and 2002 General Elections, Dotcom and Harawira brought their parties together in a way that significantly boosted their chances of becoming critical players in the post-20 September period of political bargaining.

Just how gravely this development was viewed by the National Government is demonstrated by what happened next. Firstly, and most predictably, a cacophony of party political and media condemnation was unleashed against all of those participating in the newly-formed Internet-Mana Party.

Secondly, the country was suddenly invaded by high-powered legal teams representing the US movie-making and recording industries. They’d come to prevent the “disbursement” of Dotcom’s considerable assets. Not only would this materially hamper Dotcom’s ability to mount an effective defence, but it would also prevent him from donating large sums to his favourite political parties. They arrived too late to prevent the latter (Dotcom had already donated upwards of $3 million to the Internet Party). Whether or not they secure the former lies in the hands of the New Zealand courts.

That Holywood’s finest were here at all, quipped the cynics, suggested that, even in Los Angeles, one good turn (The Hobbit) continues to deserve another.

For the moment, the third indication of how gravely the emergence of an unprecedentedly well-resourced electoral force dedicated to the utter destruction of John Key’s government is being viewed by both its electoral and ideological enemies remains hidden in the darkest recesses of the Right’s domain. All that can be heard at present are whispers. Rumours of something huge and terrible waiting in the wings. Something that the IT entrepreneur’s enemies have uncovered, the revelation of which will destroy the Dotcom phenomenon once and for all. Allies and associates are being warned to distance themselves from “The German” lest they be sucked down with him in a scandal of career-destroying power.

Pinning down these rumours is extremely difficult, The best guess as to their content, for the moment, is that Dotcom’s enemies have “discovered” a cache of incriminating files that he had “hidden” on the so-called “Deep Web”. If this turns out to be the case, the Left would do well to remember that the only agencies with the resources to plumb the depths of the Deep Web are the very same law enforcement agencies involved in Dotcom’s arrest and arraignment. Nor should it be forgotten that there is a world of difference between “discovering” evidence and planting it.

That rumours of this sort are being circulated – not least for the purposes of silencing all actual and potential supporters of Dotcom – indicates how very seriously his intervention in the 2014 election is being taken by the New Zealand Right. It also suggests that the latter are now convinced that Dotcom has indeed been “turned” by his experiences with the US and New Zealand “national security” regimes, and that his alliance with the New Zealand Left is genuine.

If that is so, and since armed police, aided (illegally) by the GCSB and acting on behalf of the FBI with the approval of the New Zealand Government, have already invaded his Coatesville mansion, shouldn’t the Left make at least a favourable reference to Kim Dotcom in the battle for control of the House of Representatives?



  1. Re the right-wing’s rumour mill finding the big one—it’s far more likely the German will reward the ultimate proof of Johnny boys illegal activities. Quiver in fear money-traders and investment bankers!

  2. Keep these columns up and the GCSB will be planting some deep web scandal on you too, Chris. (ha ha). Thanks for enlightening me further.

    • Aye: Anyone with the technical skill to monitor your traffic also has the ability to insert “evidence” into your traffic.

      I’m vaguely surprised this defence isn’t a cornerstone of digital law. Data/Logs on their own can’t logically stand as evidence if they’re being monitored.

  3. OK, I have never felt the need to post on here before but you are now appearing as totally unhinged, give it up, this is not the future of the left.

  4. Now there was an article today in the Herald regarding calls for a top level inquiry as to why police had not deemed sufficient evidence to press charges earlier on into whether John Banks had indeed broken any laws pertaining to falsified electoral donations …

    Apparently..NZ has signed a United Nations document regarding the setting up of an independent ‘corruptions unit’ to investigate such matters (primarily it seems, into political corruption) and that we are, the only nation as yet to have actually done as such.

    I think it was Trevor Mallard who suggested it would /should be based on a model that is in affect in New South Wales currently. And I suppose this would have been in fallout from the era of Joh Belke Petersen in Queensland , and NSW police departments earlier on.

    It is interesting when viewing Campbell Live and TV3’s documentary on John Key, the GSCB, the appointment of Ian Fletcher, the arrival of the USA’s chief head of security in our country and the time frames involved..that the whole Dotcom affair was a thinly disguised -and contrived- plan to silence him…and now using the money of the USA’s film/music (neo liberal propagandist ) industry to keep both Governments hands from being from being dirtied.

    The incumbent Govt has been caught out telling untruths…’I can’t recall’.. ‘I was not aware’…it would be alarming (and simply not credible )if the head of our own security/intelligence agencies is kept in the dark from the very agencies that are meant to inform Govt of matters of international importance,- indeed – tantamount to irresponsible incompetence at best,….media manipulation, illegal Govt sanctioned surveillance , and corruption at worst.

    Looking back..the initial raid and arrest of Mr Dotcom, using 72 to 80 paramilitary police , abseiling down ropes from helicopters flying overhead looked more like Waco Texas than Coatville New Zealand.

    I suspect that was a show put on to show Uncle Sam we really, really , really wanna be seen to be part of the five eyes network.

    Whereas…a police sergeant and a handful of constables would have sufficed – if there was truly any substance to the allegations in the first place.

    This is New Zealand , mate, -and we don’t do that sort of thing here. We like to give a bloke a fair shake in this country.

    And just because you get a snapshot of yourself shown drinking beer out of a bottle at a barbie , or smile benignly at every opportunity before the media don’t mean you can be that self confident that people are going to miss glaring discrepancies when clearly presented with the facts.

    • “The incumbent Govt has been caught out telling untruths…’I can’t recall’.. ‘I was not aware’…”
      This gave me a flashback to Ronnie Reagan’s lack of memory during the Iran-Contra Affair, Ronnie could blame his Alzheimer’s disease, but I wonder what web of lies our own Johnnie boy may come up with for TDB’s venomous katipo.

  5. An extremely helpful article, thanks Chris.

    “…indicates how very seriously his intervention in the 2014 election is being taken by the New Zealand Right.”

    Yes and would seem that it is not solely the NZ right that is taking Dotcom’s interventions seriously – but it appears the international power elite themselves are rearing their ugly heads and squealing like stuck pigs over it.

    NZ is a small country and if we manage a substantial change for the better, then we end up being an example for other countries to follow. So, yeah the international power elite would just hate that.

    That NZ is a small country makes it easier to gain the ‘tipping point’ for substantial change.

    That we have MMP also leads to a greater chance for substantial change.

    Let no-one fool themselves that a vote in a NZ election ‘makes no difference’ – especially not in this years election.

  6. Intellectuals, academics and the wealthy have long been key supporters of left, revolutionary and anti establishment causes back to Alexander Parvus and Lenin’s time. Yes they are prone to vacillation but IMP has an inbuilt use by date if and as required. Just as the various components of Mana Movement itself can return to their original organisations as they wish.

    The right do appear to believe Dotcom has crossed the rubicon and will use any means to nail him. Many people in NZ will not get this. But people who have been in direct conflict with the state forces for most of their lives will. For example Māori going back to the original “Cullen line” at Ruatoki, the same line that armed special police units formed up on in illegal raids in 2007. The thread of a surveillance state runs through to the Dotcom raid.

    Dotcom through personal experience has chosen to throw in his lot at this stage with the people who fight the post colonial struggle here and the forces of capitalist globalisation. People said what have the NZ left and Māori nationalists got in common when Mana was formed. Now they know–interlinked battles and common enemies. Somewhat removed from main stream middle class voters worried about capital gains tax or WFF. But Vodafones records showing widespread fishing expeditions into Joe public’s digital data and phone use are waking a few up.

    Just remember Banksie was not going to court, or be found guilty or resign as MP, so John Key will not be touched, National is riding high and Kim Dotcom has nothing on him.

  7. I am constantly fascinated with these calls about ‘he’s only in it for himself’. Now without even acknowledging the content of those claims, I just want to look at the uncanny and almost comical levels of hypocrisy such a claim entails.
    What politician in NZ doesn’t look out for their own interests? Particularly on the right.
    Do these people think that John Key didn’t get into politics to help deregulate NZ’s economy? Even if he believed that this deregulation was best for the country (although based off his sociopathy I’d be surprised if this was the case), he would have believed it was best for the country based off the perspectives he receives coming from a situation of extreme privilege, and he would be influenced by the interests forged from the experiences he has had.
    In other words the interests of him and the people he cares about are inextricably tied to his political career. In fact you wouldn’t be able to find someone that this wasn’t the case with.
    And then if you look at even just this issue specifically and individually, Key has made his stance and his interests that are tied within it, abundantly clear. Key and his cronies have made it transparent that they want Dotcom gone and want to see him go down. So if that’s the case, where did any sense of balance go? Why are the mainstream media and those on the left that don’t know much about Dotcom holding him to a different standard than they do John Key? I suppose it makes sense in our media who are lazy, but on the left? Why would anyone on the left give a free pass to John Key’s hypocrisy like this?
    It’s hard to feel like a multi-millionaire is the victim in any scenario but if you have the highest office in the land, assisted by the US Government and the 5 Eyes Network gunning for you, it seems like all manner of balance of interests is completely thrown out.
    Even if he is in it for himself (which being that I don’t know the man, I feel I can’t really comment on), that puts him squarely on par with every political figure ever.

    • Perhaps y’all can clear something up for me? If I understand correctly, Dotcom’s extradition hearing is scheduled for July (well before the election), so any idea that he is trying to get MPs to block his extradition is fallacious on its face. My understanding is also that the FBI have very little chance of actually obtaining his extradition — anyone care to comment on that? (independently of whether judges may wish to give rulings which are agreeable to the government, I think it’s clear that in any specific case which is subject to sufficient public scrutiny, they are obliged to rule on the actual matters of law before them. As indeed the John Banks case illustrates.)

  8. I have long thought that KDC came to NZ thinking it was a quiet backwater removed from the mainstream of global affairs, as have other slightly dodgy characters before him. He got residency fairly easily, perhaps unaware that the NZ authorities were eager to please the US intelligence services. Transferring him from NZ to the USA could have been relatively straightforward. Too late, KDC realised he had walked into a trap, and it was only our legal system that saved him from extradition to spend the rest of his life in a US jail. Now he is stuck here.

    • I reckon there are worse places to be stuck. No particular comparison, but Snowdon is stuck in Russia (and I wouldn’t fancy throwing myself on the mercy of the courts there…)

  9. You have wrong end of the stick I think.

    I understand Documents exist which would be embarrassing and unhelpful for the Government and said agencies but that the decision was made to destroy them because (1) the PM came at least partially clean recently on certain matters as head of the GCSB recently, which was actually a bit of a turn up for the books, and seems to want to engage more openly about surveillance issues and (2) because, merits of Dot Com’s case aside, it was deemed that further revelations would lead to the potential embarrassment of some some essentially good people who made a few errors of judgement.

    For those who like to call for total transparency remember that there are always fallible human beings involved and that if we are not kind in reality through our actions are kind intentions are meaningless.

    Positive change is happening for those for whom privacy in a concern, see reset the net. The Skynet won’t fall down on us tomorrow. We’ve just got to be smarter about our communications Reset the net, check out Electronic Freedom Foundation .esp Jacob Applebaum for the best over all picture) and more fervent in demanding what we the people require to live as we choose without living under suspicion or judgement. Acts of sabotage, destructive leaks that could potentially put people in danger, and so forth will not help the cause in the end. They’ll just cause a media storm for a few days each time and not affect the mindset of the ordinary Kiwi.

    More campaigns like reset the net are what is needed, and education provided in easy to understand and implement platforms.

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