Politicians like putting up straw men for the purpose of self-righteously knocking them over.
Prime Minister John Key has a particular straw man he loves to punch over. He raises it whenever he’s asked about mass surveillance of New Zealanders and he did it again this morning when he said “without a shadow of a doubt GCSB does not conduct mass surveillance on New Zealand”.
It will be interesting to hear the details of the mass surveillance programme which Key now says he stopped last year but irrespective of that it’s very clear that mass surveillance of New Zealanders is conducted by the US National Security Agency, the data stored and then available to the GCSB to access through the X-Keyscore programme.
We have known all this for at least a year following Edward Snowden’s revelation but when Key is specifically asked about it he says he won’t comment on operational issues about how our spy agencies work.
The main issue for New Zealanders from tonight’s meeting is not the conflict between John Key and Glen Greenwald and neither is it the conflict between John Key and Kim Dotcom.
Whatever happens between those players the most important point is still that the GCSB is not operating in New Zealand’s interests but in the interests of the US and its global goals for political, economic and military dominance of the planet.
That’s the reason the GCSB must be abolished and its spybases at Waihopai and Tangimoana closed down.