Hypothetical Questions

By   /   February 2, 2018  /   19 Comments

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and his White House staff are convinced America’s “Deep State” is out to get them. They’re probably right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and his White House staff are convinced America’s “Deep State” is out to get them. They’re probably right.

Regardless of their ideological leanings, a persistent base-note of paranoia thrums through the heads of most politicians. In the case of the Trump Administration, however, that drumbeat is growing faster and louder with every passing day. Making it stop is fast becoming a POTUS obsession.

It’s easy to imagine how vulnerable a political leader must feel when it becomes clear that the individuals and institutions charged with protecting the integrity of the state are, simultaneously, being encouraged to gather information about the private life of the head-of-state. Knowing that was happening could easily drive a person onto Twitter in the early hours of the morning!

If New Zealand even has a “Deep State”, then it is unlikely to be a very big or a very scary one. Our population is simply too small for big secrets. Always, there’s someone who knows someone, who heard it from someone who was/is directly involved. The fear of being exposed publicly is almost always enough to prevent those institutions best equipped to undertake covert surveillance of New Zealand’s political leaders – the SIS, the GCSB, the NZDF and the Police – from even considering such a risky mission.

But, what if the surveillance and the reporting-back was being undertaken unofficially? What if a group of renegade public servants, motivated out of ideological conviction – or baser considerations – decided to act independently, outside the chain-of-command? What if, having seen their superiors escape any kind of meaningful official reprimand for engaging in unethical conduct, they decided to embark on a little free-lance politicking of their own?

Suppose, to illustrate these hypothetical questions, we imagine a small, democratic nation governed by a young, socialist, prime-minister. Like her immediate predecessors, this young prime minister is protected by a group of specially-trained and armed police officers.

These bodyguards are, naturally, sworn to keep secret everything they see and hear pertaining to the public and private life of the politician under their protection. Because, of course, anyone spending so much time in such close proximity to another person is bound to witness all kinds of behaviour; overhear all manner of exchanges; which, if wrenched from their context and passed on to an interested third party, could give rise to the most acute political and personal embarrassment.

Now, let us further suppose that a number of this young prime minister’s bodyguards, being strong supporters of the conservative political party which she and her left-wing allies have only recently supplanted, decided to “help” her conservative opponents by feeding them detailed information of a private, personal and politically highly-sensitive character.

Obviously, our hypothetical prime minister’s hypothetical opponents could not use this information publicly without betraying its source. Nevertheless, the intelligence in their possession would likely prove to be of enormous benefit to them, both strategically and tactically. All knowledge is power: and the acquisition, by your enemies, of knowledge you’d rather they did not possess, and of whose unauthorised transfer you remain entirely ignorant, could – hypothetically – give them a great deal of power indeed.

Not that anything as dangerous as the scenario sketched-out above could possibly unfold in corruption-free New Zealand. Our happy South Pacific democracy is simply too small for really big secrets, and our public servants too big-hearted to pass on its small and private ones to unauthorised persons.

 

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19 Comments

  1. Siobhan says:

    ” The fear of being exposed publicly is almost always enough to prevent those institutions best equipped to undertake covert surveillance of New Zealand’s political leaders – the SIS, the GCSB, the NZDF and the Police – from even considering such a risky mission.”

    “Not that anything as dangerous as the scenario sketched-out above could possibly unfold in corruption-free New Zealand. Our happy South Pacific democracy is simply too small for really big secrets, and our public servants too big-hearted to pass on its small and private ones to unauthorised persons.”

    I just never know wether Mr Trotter is being ironic or not. Devils advocate? Pressure to write opinion pieces? Who knows.

    • With his second paragraph, I’m picking tongue-firmly-in-cheek, Siobhan…

    • Marc says:

      “Not that anything as dangerous as the scenario sketched-out above could possibly unfold in corruption-free New Zealand. Our happy South Pacific democracy is simply too small for really big secrets, and our public servants too big-hearted to pass on its small and private ones to unauthorised persons.”

      I thought something along the same lines. You have to be kidding yourself, Mr Trotter, or are you up to your usual tricks?

      To think this little country is protected from such ‘hypothetical’ activities is naive to the extreme. Even tiny states in the Caribbean, Latin America and also the South Pacific have people pull strings and use information against certain persons that they may wish to see pressured or manipulated.

      Have you forgotten one John Key, Mr Trotter, was he such an angel and sincere man, ‘leading’ this country???

  2. Sam Sam says:

    That’s uncanny. I was just reading this from the onion.

    “FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Thursday that releasing the “Nunes Memo” could potentially undermine faith in the massive, unaccountable government secret agencies of the United States. “Making this memo public will almost certainly impede our ability to conduct clandestine activities operating outside any legal or judicial system on an international scale,” said Wray,”

    https://t.co/edaqT2LocX

    Y’all are aware that “international scale” includes New Zealanders in that frame work, right? Just something to be aware of. I’m sure now that the Greens are on the intelligence select committee they’ll be better enabled to avoid a repeat of cyclone Metiria because Law makers need to have clean records and we wouldn’t want some foreigner getting involved in New Zealand politics.

    Careful out there normies. There some real monsters hiding under the bed.

    • Francesca says:

      How blatant they are!
      Making this information public will impede us in our criminal activities both at home and abroad
      Only the most nuked up state can get away with admissions like that

      • Sam Sam says:

        “Infomous Nunes Memo Released: The Nunes Memo has now been released and ah it has made one thing clear. We have been wasting a lot of time in this country on absolute BS.” Video continues>>> https://youtu.be/vZ4z4yzUf9Q

        America is officially a factory for producing absolute bullshit!!!

  3. countryboy says:

    Excellent Post @ Chris Trotter.

    Winston Peters is a perfect example of a new approach to covert operations, in my personal view. An under-cover/over-cover operative.
    He’s learned, probably via a law degree, how to run with the hairs and hunt with the hounds. If you want to fool people? Do it in plain sight. The more a crook tries to hide, the more suspicion is aroused.
    Once, a long time ago, before the Ch Ch earthquakes and before bennett destroyed many lives in our neighbourhood’s most wretchedly poor, a fellow came into my business and struck up a conversation. He was a tall and imposing figure and spoke with an American drawl though he said he was Canadian.
    He knew many things about myself and my business partner though spoke generally rather than specifically. Just enough to give us the willies.
    After many visits and convivial conversations he asked me to lie on an immigration form for him. He wanted me to state that I’d known him longer and more intimately than I did.
    Of course, I said yes, and lets seal the deal with a kilo of cocaine, a child slave and a Colombian pass port. ( Ha Ha ! Gotcha spooks ! Be still, your beating little hearts. )
    I actually said “ Aaaah yeah..? Nah. Good barking, but wrong tree.
    He turned on his heel like a beaten puppy and slunk out the door. I watched him walk off down our Mall and never saw him again.
    He did say, however, during a particularly enlightening conversation, that the best way to confuse spooks was to always tell the truth.
    “ They’ll have no fuckin’ idea what to do with it.”
    The trick is, to always appear to be telling, or representing the truth, when in fact, you’re lying your arse off to further your own, more often than not, political agenda.
    Without wanting to seem haughty;
    NZ plays a vital global role in all things.
    NZ’s an extraordinary concoction of profoundly spherical thinkers and creatives. The world watches us, to see what we come up with next. All the more so before roger douglas fucked us. How many brilliant minds are in bodies sleeping in the gutters because they don’t fit in?
    NZ’s also safe and secure and will be an escape route for the very riche in terrible times to come. Peter Thiel anyone?
    In my view, it’s because the deep state yank wankers are here and now. Those select few mafia-esque fuckers are well here and now. ( No disrespect to the actual mafia. )
    The end game?
    Survival. Simple survival. Food. Water. Room to move without fear.
    Isn’t that why most people go on holiday?

    • Onca""" says:

      Please….no one issue Thiel with a gun licence, whether he pretends to like hunting or not

      • Helena says:

        Did you know that “Peter Thiel” is an anagram for The Reptile.
        Don’t put key or thiel behind a gun!

  4. However let us not forget the near dictatorship of Muldoon .
    Who was responsible for destroying anyone who apposed him.

  5. R.P. Mcmurphy says:

    it will all blow over shortly. storm in a d-cup except for the malefactors and they will have to pay when their cases are heard.

  6. Sumsuch says:

    If, between modern individualistic atomization and failure of our collective organisations, faith should seep away from those around NZ elected governments, then, America beckons . The danger is the loss of an active faith in our democracy, given the last few decades of friends -of -the-rich dills being in control of it (thanks Listener for keeping their voices alive).

    Our defence has been the marrow of NZ decency (the flaw in that amber being Maori). It requires a decent-ist govt every few decades to maintain it, or the American abyss. A demo-cratic govt, by its definition, must break the paradigm not stretch it. American politics are about adjustments to the rule of the rich. Stuff Jacinda’s breaking sacred heart.

    I would really like to know the private talk of the power-brokers in the heart of the American Plutocracy. Obviously they don’t believe the public face of how they get consent. If this revelation was exposed it would be only a few vowels away from revolution, leaving aside Murdoch’s filter of Fox News (if that is possible).

    What a loving modern reimagination of the classical oligarchic Roman Republic America is.

  7. Gary says:

    Well Chris, after the events of the last 36 hours, would you care to revise your comments about President Trump

    • Sam Sam says:

      What do you mean? I’ll explain. Inflation is showing up trade deficit and asset prices…

      Do you understand the implications that has on the bond markets? I’ll explain for you again…

      Low inflation is good for bond markets.

      Higher inflation is bad for bond markets.

      I’d use as few words as possible and as many pictures as possible to help you understand given your educational background but that’s not my style.

  8. Andrea says:

    Given the present state of morale in the public service, and the current tendency toward the interference by the government in appointments to senior levels, perhaps this is not quite hypothetical.

    Whether the blokes club in the police and specialist branches has become less macho and mates’ rates and more professional – I don’t know. There are definitely some very good people in there – and a swish of scum in some places.

    That may even be true of the Treasury, the State Services Commission, and other rarely heard of yet still influential fiefdoms, even within Parliament itself. Plot and scheme…

    We have a tendency to power games. Look at the like of people who rorted so many out of hard-won life savings. The creepies of Bridgecorp and all those other money-sucking mushrooms of the opportunistic 80s and 90s. Look at those charming people in the back offices of Parliament who leaked and lied to ruin reputations and careers.

    They haven’t gone away. They aren’t altruistic, nor political. They could quite happily pollute the social soup if it profited them. Certain bloggers come to mind, and opinion touts.

    And some of them contribute to party funds – with a long-term view to get a healthy ROI on their ‘donations’…

    Thanks, Chris.