Dissident Solutions: What’s happening to Nicky Hager?

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MARTYN BRADBURY’S LATEST POSTING on The Daily Blog should give every member of the democratic public serious pause. The allegations levelled at the NZ Police are serious and deeply concerning. It is very difficult, having read Martyn’s post, to avoid the conclusion that Nicky Hager may be the victim of deliberate political persecution, and that among the principal agents of that persecution may be members of the NZ Police Force.

With the specifics of the actions taken against Mr Hager forming a significant part of active legal proceedings, it would be improper to rehearse them on The Daily Blog. What can be examined, however, is the enormous risk posed to the integrity of our democratic institutions by the merest suspicion that senior politicians, senior civil servants, senior policemen and senior jurists might be involved in an effort to both frighten and silence what used to be called, back in the days of the Cold War, “political dissidents”.

What distinguishes the “political dissident” from the more familiar “political activist” is their specificity. Activists may give public voice to generalised complaints against individuals and institutions, but dissidents sharpen such complaints by supplying the public with hard evidence of specific wrong-doing – often supplied to them by a whistleblower or, in Mr Hager’s case, a hacker. Alternatively, the evidence may simply have been uncovered by applying the techniques of good, old-fashioned, investigative journalism.

Liberal democracies have very little to fear from activists. Objections to government policy and/or corporate behaviour based on political ideology or religious belief constitute no real threat to the smooth unfolding of long-prepared strategies and plans. After all, the actions of powerful institutions – be they public or private – are almost always undertaken within the law and are, therefore, extremely difficult to stop. Indeed, it is only when the placard-waving (but otherwise ineffective) activists avail themselves of a lawyer or two that they graduate to dissident status – at least in the eyes of their opponents.

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Lawyers, like the best investigative journalists, have ways of extracting information the powers-that-be would rather they, their clients, and/or the general public, didn’t see. In the hands of a good team of lawyers, legal discovery can be an immensely powerful weapon. The constitutional separation of powers means that the Judiciary can require the Executive Branch of Government, or a private corporation, to divulge all manner of secret material. Discovery cuts both ways, however, so those who go after the secrets of the powerful must be prepared for the powerful to come after theirs.

But if lawyers pose a genuine threat to the secret dealings of the powerful, they are also extremely hazardous to their client’s bank balance. This enables the State, by dint of having its very own “law firm” – Crown Law – and a practically inexhaustible supply of funds, to adopt a strategy of litigation attrition. By extending and multiplying the mechanisms of the Law, the Crown is frequently able to wear down or financially exhaust its opponents. If an out-of-court settlement is arrived at by the contending parties it will almost always contain a comprehensive confidentiality clause. The dissident and his or her lawyers may “win” their case, but the State’s secrets remain just that – secrets.

What truly terrifies the wielders of public and private power are processes of “discovery” that owe nothing to the operation of the courts. Edward Snowden was able to use his privileged access to the secrets of the United States’ National Security Agency, to expose its highly questionable (and in some cases illegal) activities to the whole world. The specificity of the information he released (that the US eavesdropped on the conversations of the German Chancellor, for example) produced the most acute diplomatic embarrassment. Likewise his detailed description of the architecture of mass surveillance.

Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics, delivered an equally destructive blow to the secret world of right-wing influence peddling and political character assassination. The hitherto unseen architecture of political manipulation in New Zealand was laid bare in a way that caught the subjects of Mr Hager’s investigation completely off-guard. It was the same with his earlier publications: Secret PowerSecrets and LiesSeeds of DistrustThe Hollow Men and Other People’s Wars. In every case those under scrutiny had no idea that their activities were about to be exposed.

This “ambush” strategy has been criticised by Mr Hager’s opponents as unethical and contrary to the “rules of good journalism”. What it achieves, however, is the unimpeded distribution of his publications. Had the subjects of Mr Hager’s investigations been alerted to the fact that a book was in preparation, or, about to be published, it is highly likely that they would have attempted to legally injunct its release. Rather than offer his subjects the traditional right-of-reply, therefore, Mr Hager exhaustively checks and re-checks his facts to ensure that there is no possibility of legal restraint. That he has never been successfully sued bears testimony to the thoroughness of this pre-publication scrutiny.

What does a government “do” about a dissident of such consistent effectiveness as Nicky Hager? How reassuring it would be if we could answer, simply, that the powers-that-be, both public and private, redouble their efforts to conduct themselves ethically and openly. The revelations contained in Martyn Bradbury’s blogpost, however, strongly suggest that their reaction has been very different.

It’s as if someone, somewhere, has echoed the anguished cry of King Henry II.

When confronted with further evidence of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s, Thomas Becket’s, political and religious defiance, Henry bellowed: “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!” Did Henry know that four of his knights had taken him at his word and were on their way to slay the Archbishop before his altar? We shall never know. He always claimed ignorance of his men-at-arms’ intent, and did penance for the crime his words inspired. At the end of the day, however, his problem had, actually, been solved.

Rogue elements in the Police Force? Or a carefully devised plan to bring down a dissident? Either way, the outlook for the democratic public is grim.

 

26 COMMENTS

  1. Yes indeed it is grim Chris , …now….was it that there was evidence of Police corruption contained on Mr Hagars computers….the computers of which were confiscated from the extraordinary 10 hour search of Mr Hagar’s property?

    And that they were never returned?

    As they say in Police circles…

    Motive , Means and Opportunity …..

    And would Mr Hagar be first choice at a barbecue invite hosted by Mr Key ?

    Doesn’t seem likely now, does it…

    I think this gullible , self indulgent and mentally lazy little country now has some serious soul searching to do about itself over this – this has now reached a stage where its become quite critically dangerous.

    That is…if we truly value our way of life.

    That is …if we truly value this so – called democratic freedom of speech and civil liberties…

    That is….if we truly like to think of ourselves as being fair minded and that totalitarian practice’s surely wouldn’t stand a chance on these shores…

    Because I can tell you right now…those practices have already landed.

    And we have a situation unfolding whereby the outcome for one man acts as a pivot that sets a precedent and determines our future and the reality of living in that free land our National Anthem sings of.

    God defend our FREE LAND.

    Because it appears almost certain that this current govt wont.

    • Key knows that we are on to his game and dosnt give a damn.When he has the law acting in corrupt ways and he has the corporations at his back ,he can do what he likes, and believes no one can stop him ,and don’t bother talking about voting him out in next election ,he will either be in Hawaii or the vote will be manipulated.
      No doubt the corporations have picked out the next president to lead America and who do their will. New Zealand will be a pushover, unless something happens to change things.

      captcha 7+2=9

  2. Great article Chris. The trend towards controlling those who do not support the status quo by the NZ Police is very worrying. The lack of outrage by NZ’s presstitute media is also a concern.

    • Ike, Apart of Bilderberg’s doctrine is to weaken counties who it can easily do so first to make an example of them to others to get in line.,

      So NZ, Greece, and other smaller Counties will be targeted first before they foist the One World Government on us all, beginning with the four trade agreements of EU, TTIP Pacific TTPA, Asian and African regions then assemble them into one unit run by a global council out of Bilderberg’s stable.

      We are lead by Key as a plant to do what he is told to do to achieve the TPPA part of the plan.

      He will do what ever it takes to achieve this as the most corrupt leader in our history..
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLlwpZQrQUU

      • Courage to act in small or big ways. Desire to bring freedom and peace to all and end poverty. This is the 30 year anniversary of a Greenpeace man who was murdered by the french on the Rainbow Warrior. Speaking out ; acting out and working for what is right and just is what he and what Nicky Hager are all about. And now their lives are either cut short or being violated by the police and the government and this is persecution and abuse. Descent and ethical mens lives ended and others destroyed or heavily stressed out for no good reason other than fear and greed and the NWO agenda. Shame on the French and shame on the NZ Police Force and mostly shame on our leaders who let these crooks and evil people get away with it. This evil force that controls our govts ; our media and our police force are so secret and hidden but yet so powerful as to get their agenda through by whatever devious means they can. It was there intention, long LONG ago, to genocide masses and to turn the public into brainwashed apathetic robots just trying to get by and feeling overworked; fearful and overwhelmed. That was their plan and they are succeeding worldwide and hence the revolutions worldwide. People are hurting and hating and in despair and fear and we need to be aware that it is part of their agenda to make us dead or powerless in fear. I feel they are loosing slowly though now.
        Neither of the two parties here or in England or the US and elsewhere are going to make the changes as they both are ineffective. They are similar and one is just a lighter version of the other. Sorry but I have no faith in the two party system anywhere and have not for a long time. Have you heard about the Plaid party in Wales ? Sounds pretty good to me – so there is hope !
        WE CAN NOT ALLOW THIS MADNESS AND WE NEED TO GET OUTRAGED AND SPEAK OUT AND ACT OUT IN SMALL OR BIG WAYS. Don’t stop writing to politicians and the media and call whomever you need to and write to whomever and speak out. We do not need to lie down in defeat no matter how powerful they think they are.

        Nicky Hager does not deserve this harassment and we do not want to let him down by just writing a comment on this blog and then do nothing more. I am constantly forwarding on links to politicians and others to spread the word. Letter writing is more powerful than an email. Get active and do not give up. We are many, they are few.

      • this is second time error in capcha despite double checking answer,what is going on ? this time9+2=11

        cleangreen you are right ,the police state is here .
        An article in Wake up New Zealand says a company who market a drug has been implicated in a number of alternative medicine people complaining about the drug,people being found dead in suspicious circumstances, . This new order is viscious and determined to shut down opposition to its practices.
        We in New Zealand need to be aware of who we have in charge.

  3. You know?… I’m about to go out…and in all seriousness….this situation regarding Nicky Hagar is still on my mind…a kind of sense of being ill at ease…

    This is a dangerous situation.

    There’s something slick , there’s something perverse , – and there’s something inherently just not right about any of it.

    There’s something pretty nasty and evil going on…and yet appears intangible but for the fact it IS tangible…because ‘ someone ‘ is pulling the strings here….planning…making arrangements…

    And those ‘someones ‘ sit in a position of detachment …of calculated risk far from the immediate impact of the public eye and perusal…

    The same sort of sense of foreboding one got when watching the film …..’ The Firm ‘ with Tom Cruise…

    That’s what it feels like …..that.

    • Are we surprised. Skulduggery alive and well in Parliament and the Police. Protecting their bullshit like they always do. They could never fess up and admit to anything. They live in deep denial and then make excuses for themselves. The buck never stops anywhere. Smoke and mirrors. But God is watching and I believe we are coming to the season when everything rotten will exposed and these governments or certain people are bound to fall. Corruption cannot survive indefinitely. The truth will be exposed and must prevail.

      • “Corruption cannot survive indefinitely.” Yes it can. And does. I don’t believe that historically, any action by this god you speak of, has had any effect on corruption anywhere.

      • No disrespect to you or your faith Pauline, but…

        “…God is watching and I believe … The truth will be exposed and must prevail. ”

        Don’t you think it’s high time we exposed this one, in particular?

        “God” is the Powers that Be’s finest creation.

        You may believe in Him, but in doing so you worship at their altar.

  4. Despite what has been attributed to the police, there is still some discussion to be had concerning the champion of the free Mr Hager. It is interesting that Hager was supported by Campbell Live so guilty by association seems fair. In 2003 Helen Clark after being attacked by Campbell on Hagers “Seeds of Distrust” publication felt sufficiently annoyed to describe Campbell as a “Sanctimonious Little Creep” and then a decade later Hager was pushing the CGSB issue and Campbell managed to get the PM on his show in August 2013 only to be embarrassed because the PM controlled the interview, in fact some have said the PM wiped the floor with Campbell.

    • Kind of like the series whereby Cambell demonstrated skulduggery was going on at high levels when a certain aircraft touched down in the early hours of the morning in this country with none other than the head chief of the NSA on-board…

      And then the appointment of Ian Fletcher whom the PM claimed he didn’t know at all- yet turned out they were boyhood friends and that they only had breakfast together hours before Premier Kee chose Fletcher for the job as head of the GSCB…

      And as all roads lead to Rome it wasn’t hard to deduce where the persecution of Mr Kim Dotcom was emanating from after that series , now , was it…?…

      Sorry Bud – but seeing as you asked for it – Touch’e .

  5. Its not a rogue element inside the police force. It’s much simpler than that. The NZ Police have been politicised by this government. And we all know the ultimate outcome – a police state. George Orwell warned us about it in 1949.

  6. In the 1970s, I campaigned on behalf of Soviet dissidents to be freed…

    It appears that campaign may have to re-surface – but on behalf of our own, home-grown dissidents.

    (That’s if I’m not next on some secret list of “troublesome” people.)

    • Tread carefully Frank.

      We’ve got a little list,

      We’ve got a little list,

      They’d none of ’em be missed,

      They’d none of ’em be missed…

      (John Ko-Ko Key)

    • My worry Frank – is they would see you as a dissident. Your writing and research is getting better and better – and your published work hits the mark almost 100% of the time. It is a worry, it feels we have come full circle, and the society has the same numb skulls running the same lies, and b.s as it did a hundred years ago.

      To Anne above – Orwell was critical of liberalism in all it’s guises. From Fascism to Communism, and everything in between. He loathed any totalitarian approach to politics – his gift, was he was able to cut through and describe totalitarian state so well . He also dissected the many fundamental flaws in liberalism as an ideology, it’s tendency towards totality and the empowerment of the elites. Plus it’s tendency to be smug. Orwell’s essays are worth reading, to get more of a feel for his thinking.

      • Orwell the greatest writer ( English) of the 20th Century. His clarity is what has always enchanted and inspired me. No one else has that.Will be visiting his grave in September near the top of my to do list while in Pommyland for the first time.

    • Hmmm..we now have a seat on the U.N ‘s council…something politicians of all stripes have lobbied for with all the ebbs and flows in this country…

      Does the U.N not have a Bill of Rights ?

      It would appear …that if these politicians truly value that standing within the U.N …..then they had better make very sure they treat us according to that ‘Bill of Rights’….

      If not ….we have might just have recourse en masse to make some very , very politically embarrassing noises regarding this issue…

      I seem to recall it was certain Maori tribes who appealed to the U. N at one stage and forced a particular govt to change their attitude very smartly over activity’s they were indulging in against the interest’s of a specific Maori tribe…

      I don’t think we need to remind Premier Kee of just what colossal embarrassment he has already caused us internationally with his perverted hair pulling episode’s…..

      It would not do him very good at all to once again be dragged over the microscope of world opinion as being ‘ That buffoon of the South Pacific Jon Kee ‘….

  7. Grant of wellington must know that Key lied his ass off when campbell interviewed him …………..

    If you like eating up bull-shit then sure ……… john Key was very good at pumping it out.

    The rest of us just watched a bald faced liar telling lies ………..

    This liar in chief seems to have a whole lot of ‘sabin’ clones in the New Zealand police who will harass and abuse their power towards Nicky Hager.

    This is the most corrupt power abusing government we have ever had.

    As judith collins and her orvidia chums have shown with the kauri log export swindle …………… they are into looting mode.

    • Reason – you can believe what you wish. Democracy entitles you to have a view, but don’t try and push your view down my throat. If you have determined the answer before listening to the question, or have a contrary view that is fine.

  8. Just watched “Table Talk”, and several points occurred to me;

    1. This is current affairs that was (I’m guessing) low cost – but highly informative.

    2. Mike McRoberts and Paula Penfold – thank you for your time and your professional expertise. This is journalism/current affairs as it should be.

    3. Imagine if we had “Table Talk” (or something similar) on prime-time TV? Would it rate? Yes, I think it would!

    Brilliantly done!

  9. This is a great article Chris, therefore I’m really disappointed that, since you can clearly see the grave implications of this, you did not use your time on RNZs Panel today to raise these same concerns. One of the deep frustrations is that this kind of discussion is not taking place in the mainstream media and you had the perfect opportunity to help remediate that a little today. A missed opportunity that we can no longer afford.

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