David Fisher must be in the running for best Journalist 2017 with this extraordinary investigation into how the sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind were played and conned into believing Key was being honest when he claimed there was no mass surveillance plans for New Zealand…
Sir John Key’s story of how and why he canned a “mass surveillance” programme are at odds with official papers detailing development of the “Speargun” project.
The issue blew up in the final days of the 2014 election with Key claiming the programme was long-dead and had been replaced by a benign cyber-security system called Cortex.
Key always claimed the Speargun project to tap New Zealand’s internet cable was stopped in March 2013.
But new documents show development of Speargun continued after the time he had said he ordered a halt – apparently because the scheme was “too broad”.
Instead, they show Speargun wasn’t actually stopped until after Key was told in a secret briefing that details were likely to become public because they could be in the trove of secrets taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
…Fisher’s conclusion is damning…
It means that Key knew more than a year before the “Moment of Truth” event that it was possible Snowden would release details of a project intended to scan all internet traffic coming into New Zealand.
…Key knew Snowden knew the NZ Government were planning a mass surveillance program that would be controlled by the NSA and he lied directly to NZ to hide this fact.
Remember, the NSA were still using remote surveillance of Dotcom even after NZ intelligence agencies had switched them off…
The illegal spying which earned Kim Dotcom an apology from former Prime Minister Sir John Key went on two months longer than previously admitted, according to a High Court judgment.
The revelation – if accurate – would open a can of worms over sworn admissions the GCSB has made in the High Court and the Court of Appeal over assistance given to police ahead of the FBI-inspired 2012 raid which saw Dotcom and three others arrested.
It could also raise the possibility of a fresh apology to Dotcom because Key’s apology was in the context of spying from December 16, 2011 through to January 20, 2012.
Questions have been asked of Prime Minister Bill English but he has not responded. A spokesman for GCSB Minister Chris Finlayson referred questions to the GCSB, even though previous issues around the illegal spying have been handled at ministerial level.
Remember the timeline here…
March 8th 2011 – Jerry Mateparae is stepped down as head of the GCSB.
March 15th 2011 – Top NSA spook, James Clapper, flies to NZ to meet with Key to discuss ‘synchronicity’ between the NSA and GCSB.
March 22nd 2011 – High level intelligence meetings
May 2011 – McCully visits Washington
June 17th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher for breakfast at Stamford Plaza.
July 22nd 2011 – Key is invited to Washington as pay back for this new ‘synchronicity’.
July 26th 2011 – Key side steps normal protocols and appoints his old school friend Ian Fletcher to take over at the GCSB.
October 2011 – John Key, the head of the SIS and NZDF join Ian Fletcher, the MFAT Head, and the DPMC boss for a secret dinner at the British High Commissioner’s home
December 8th 2011 – A letter states that Key is going to meet Ian Fletcher on 12th December
December 12th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher.
December 14th 2011 – The Police boss responsible for spying on Dotcom meets John Key with other intelligence agencies present.
December 16th 2011 – Kim Dotcom starts to be illegally spied upon.
January 2012 – Raid on Kim Dotcom. Spying supposedly ends.
Operation Speargun was set up to tap our Southern Cross cable and was waiting for the new GCSB law to pass, the GCSB law that Key claimed stopped mass surveillance, yet every other legal expert said would allow for mass surveillance. So the evidence is that Operation Speargun was running and was simply waiting for the legislation to pass, the very legislation that the GCSB went and briefed the NSA on. The documents Key released claiming that he stopped this plan show nothing of the sort.
This concentration of power follows a very clear path set out upon by National.
- National gave the Police vast new retrospective surveillance powers
- National rammed through legislation under urgency allowing the State to force civil telecommunication companies to build backdoors to their networks and not tell their customers that the State had breached their privacy.
- National rammed through legislation under urgency allowing the State to spy on NZers
- The GCSB went from $80m to $140m in budget per year
- The SIS were ‘rewarded’ with a huge increase in powers and budget.
- The SIS colluded with John Key’s Office to falsely smear the Leader of the Opposition Phil Goff months before the 2011 election.
- Warrantless spying
And National gave these security agencies even more powers that will allow…
- The GCSB and SIS to break any law.
- Allow the GCSB and SIS to give immunity to any other State Agency they deputise.
- Empower the GCSB to move from being simply technical support to running their own investigations.
- Imprison anyone who reveals illegal Government spying to the Public.
…and these powers are being considered while there is an investigation under way that..
- Our Spies helped the CIA torture prisoners
- Questions over whether or not the spy agencies have embarked upon another illegal mass spying of NZers
- Why the GCSB spied for Tim Groser to get a job.
After getting caught illegally spying, after being caught being racist, after being caught abusing their power, after being given vast new mass surveillance powers, after having huge increases in budget – after all that, they still can’t keep all this information they now have on us secure in even the most basic ways.
So what conclusions can we draw here about the mass surveillance state in New Zealand?
The unbelievable way New Zealanders and the mainstream media framed the Moment of Truth as a giant waste of time because Kim didn’t prove Key knew about him before he claimed shows the juvenile nature of our news culture.
The Moment of Truth had Assange, Greenwald and Edward Snowden prove without a shadow of a doubt that John Key had lied through his teeth about mass surveillance. It showed the NSA and CIA have staff here, it showed they planned to spike the sea cable and steal data directly from that feed and it showed that our GCSB went and met with the NSA to assure them the law Key had just pushed through allowed for mass surveillance despite Key telling the NZ public that it didn’t.
But what did NZ focus on? Kim not proving Key knew he existed before he claimed to have known.
We are our own worst enemies.
You were conned New Zealand.