Unwilling To Disclose.

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ONE OF THE DANGERS of keeping secrets is that the measures required to conceal them all-too-often end up revealing them. The unprecedented Police request to present secret evidence to the Human Rights Commission, for example, raises all sorts of questions about what, or who, they are trying to protect.

The great bundle of bearish energy that is my friend, Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury, could not understand why, suddenly, his usually supportive bank was refusing to rollover his website’s, “The Daily Blog’s”, overdraft. Bradbury was not to know that, a short time before, the Police had asked for and been given access to his bank accounts. Nor that the very fact the Police were asking had inscribed a large and very black mark against Bradbury’s name. Only later would he discover that his bank had not only failed to demand the production of a search warrant, but also neglected to inform Bradbury that the Police were in possession of his financial records.

If this story sounds familiar it’s because it is practically identical to the experience of another left-wing journalist, Nicky Hager. Like Bradbury, Hager was believed to have knowledge of the identity of the hacker calling him or herself “Rawshark”. It was Rawshark who, by his or her own admission, had hacked the computer of Cameron Slater, at that time the proprietor of the “Whale Oil Beef Hooked” blog. It was Rawshark’s purloined trove of Slater’s private e-mails that provided the controversial detail of Hager’s best-selling 2014 exposé, “Dirty Politics”.

In the course of their investigation of the theft of Slater’s e-mails, the Police not only sought and received (once again without the necessary authorisation) Hager’s bank records, but they also raided (this time brandishing a search warrant) his Wellington home and seized his computers.

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Subsequent legal challenges by Hager’s lawyer, Felix Geiringer, established that the Police had obtained their search warrant improperly. The issuing judge had not been told that Hager enjoyed the legal protections of a journalist. Also exposed was the practice of Police investigators seeking and being supplied with individuals’ private financial information by an alarming number of the country’s biggest banks. The upshot was the return of Hager’s seized property, the communication of an official Police apology, and the payment of an undisclosed (but reportedly substantial) sum of money to New Zealand’s leading investigative journalist by way of compensation.

When Bradbury discovered that he had fallen victim to the same Police investigation as Hager, and that his reputation and privacy had been similarly violated, he laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. Over-worked and understaffed, the Commission took two years to get to Bradbury’s case. In the wake of the Hager settlement, however, Bradbury was confident of a favourable outcome.

His dismay upon discovering that the Police had applied to the Commission for permission to present evidence against him in private is easily imagined. Evidence, moreover, that Bradbury, the complainant, would not be permitted to view or challenge. Up until that moment, Bradbury, like most complainants to the HRC had been representing himself. Now he discovered that he was up against not only the serried ranks of the NZ Police, but also the be-wigged attorneys of Crown Law.

The question is, of course, Why? What, precisely, is the nature of the information which the Police are so determined to keep from public view?

Could it be that the information upon which the Police were persuaded to launch their extraordinary investigation had been supplied to them by one or both of New Zealand’s two national security organisations: the Security Intelligence Service and/or the Government Communications Security Bureau?

If so, then questions would have to be asked about the legal justification for placing journalists and bloggers under such surveillance. Had the requisite interception warrants been supplied – and on what grounds? That Hager and Bradbury were fierce critics of government policies? But, since when is political opposition grounds for spying on New Zealand citizens?

The suspicion arises that in 2014-2015, in some unspecified, possibly unlawful, and highly secretive way, the country’s national security apparatus was working hand-in-glove with senior elements within the police to silence and punish a couple of outspoken critics of the National-led 2008-2017 Coalition Government.

Such a pity that equivalent, over-zealous, investigative efforts were nowhere in evidence when the Christchurch Shooter was planning his homicidal attack.

Disclosure: The author is a personal friend of Martyn Bradbury, and a long-time paid contributor to The Daily Blog.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 5 April 2019.

35 COMMENTS

  1. We summarised Chris.
    As I commented elsewhere; the Labour government and here I refer to the Ministers Police and GCSB, do not have the right to interfere in Operational matters e.g. walk into an AOS situation and tell the Scene Commander what to do – and/or in cases like this where police make their own calls about how they will defend themselves, tell the commissioner to desist.

    It takes either a law change i.e. police not operational, imitative by Government, to prevent this sort behaviour OR its up to the Courts.

    Of cause, Court take money and notably the Big Benefactors are absent from support for people like Martyn (but they do sponsor rugby and other activities).

    Ross Meurant

  2. “Such a pity that equivalent, over-zealous, investigative efforts were nowhere in evidence when the Christchurch Shooter was planning his homicidal attack.”

    Ain’t it just!!

    Instead, the police (and/or SIS, GCSB??) busied themselves harrassing Hager and Bradbury. Oh, and don’t forget the way they utterky stuffed up the Blomfeld/Slater investigation after Blomfeld suffered a home invasion.

    Something is rotten in the Deep State of Aotearoa!

    ANDREW LITTLE, THIS IS YOUR CUE TO SPEAK OUT!!

  3. Yes, ‘Dirty Politics’ and so forth, not long ago it came out that government departments had private investigators spy on various lobby groups and activists, including Greenpeace, all so casually.

    That appears to have been the tip of the iceberg.

    How long will John Key last as CEO of the largest bank in the country (ANZ) once the whole truth about his dirty regime comes to the surface?

    • THE POLICE HAS ALSO TO BECOME AS TRANSPARENT AS WE HAVE BECOME WITH THEIR SURVEILLANCE OVER US ALL.

      EYE FOR AN EYE.

    • We’ll all be sucking mashed banana and milk through a straw in a retirement village before Key gets what’s coming to him. If you can repeatedly assault a waitress in a public place and pretty much get off without so much as a slap on the wrist, then you’re obviously a special breed of creature not subject to the pedestrian laws of the common rabble. Justice comes with some fairly hefty terms and conditions in Aotearoa, apparently.

      • key is indicative of the corruption that of rampant out of the public eye but the results are plain to see.

        This DHB falls into the neocon mould.

        The people and honesty don’t matter.

  4. It might be that someone the Police believed or hoped to be Rawshark had been in touch with both Bradbury or his blog and Hager at the same time they believed information was passsd to Hager and others.

    It might also be the case that that person was set up as a patsy who would probably go to Hager and co. should some security-related information endanger his or her friends. Because Rawshark was the handiwork of a seasoned intelligence professional gone rogue against the Key administration out of personal animus as much as any sense of justice.

  5. those senior elements in the police need to be named and shamed now we cant have them doing this, this is appalling and their actions make a mockery of our police and what exactly is their role and it ain’t what they were doing heads need to roll. And we have a right to know what has happened.

  6. Two words.
    Word one. Fucking.
    Word two. Awesome.

    Serried?? Where did you get that word from? I’m truly humbled by your immense talent with words. And are we all not incredibly lucky to have yourselves, Mr Trotter and Mr Bradbury, out there, shinning a righteous light for us all to follow?
    That vile little swine jonky had best sleep, albeit in his sweaty, sticky and twisted nylon sheets, with one eye open. That one black eye, the one that delights in seeing hungry Kiwi kids and swinging pony tails.
    And the crimes are not all in the now darlings. The crimes stretch way back into our history.
    “ONE OF THE DANGERS of keeping secrets is that the measures required to conceal them all-too-often end up revealing them.”
    That’s literary brilliance.

    • Yes CB ‘Old father Time’-reveals Johnkeys secrets to us all.

      Now what about Mark Michell, Judith Collins and Bill English and lastly Simon Bridges?

  7. Isn’t it most likely that information came through the five eyes network? The setup apparently allows each member country to spy on the citizens of each other but not on their own citizens. The police probable aren’t allowed to divulge where the information came from.
    But surely we have to depend on the judiciary to allow or disallow this suppression of evidence. That’s why they are supposed to be independent of government.
    If we can’t trust them we don’t have a democracy. But they never do seem to interfere with the police as they run around running kids off the road to a car full of death to demonstrate their masculinity.
    D J S

  8. Hopefully this will all come out in the wash ?

    If MP’s were using the State Security Apparatus for their own Political Purposes this needs to be fully exposed ?

  9. “Such a pity that equivalent, over-zealous, investigative efforts were nowhere in evidence when the Christchurch Shooter was planning his homicidal attack.”

    That’s probably because neither the shooter, nor as far as I know, the NZ Muslim Community, had criticised John Key. In the beginning was the word, and the word was, Key.

    Nicky Hager, whose expose of the extraordinary machinations of Key’s office, was euphemistically titled, “Dirty Politics”, lives in Wellington, in a house which he built himself.

    Wellington is a small town. It is unlikely that any judge in Wellington would be unaware of Mr Hager, and of his occupation, and of the implications of granting a search warrant to search Hager’s Wellington home. The police sought the warrant from a Samoan woman District Court judge in South Auckland, and I pondered whether they had some sort of algorithm to provide the name of the person least likely to be aware of who exactly Hager is.

    What happened to Martyn is incredibly chilling and scary. Perhaps his lawyer may be able to address the secrecy as a separate issue. It is frankly unbelievable that he was touted as wrong doer simply because he criticised a soiled Prime Minister. Or is it ?

    Hager’s book depicts a group of people appearing madder than Stalin- the group dynamics practically sinister- the pettiness and spite infantile- and that is also scary.

  10. Rather than toeing the partisan line Andrew Little needs to open all of this up to investigation and not just a ” ministerial ‘ inquiry either but a full blown royal commission if the trust of the public is too be restored and the sanctity of journalists is to remain sacrosanct.
    What is the point of having laws that are drafted , passed through parliament , enacted then ignored when a sitting government is hell bent on a campaign or vendetta against its opponents.
    This goes to the heart of our democratic process and you would hope that Little would understand this.
    He has done the right thing with Pike and now he needs to give this dirty business his full attention.
    I am sure Winston would be of immense help.

    • Andrew Little will understand okay, and know that it is in everybody’s interests for the NZ Police to be seen as clean. It’s essential.

      Unfortunately, just because this all happened on Key’s watch, doesn’t mean that it cannot happen again.

      When John Key went to the police about the apparently innocuous Teapot Tapes, the police had no choice but to act on Key’s complaint; clearly he and Banks weren’t discussing state secrets but the police had no choice.

      As a taxpayer it annoyed me seeing John Key wasting police time and my money, but I guess it could also have been Key signalling to journalists, ‘Love me or I’ll get ya.’

      If anti-Bradbury stuff came from Key or National’s cockroaches, the police had to act to ascertain the truth, but that does not exempt them from needing to be crystal clear about every single one of their processes. I think there’s a Bill of Rights obligation there.

  11. (sand pit satire)
    One day, the children were playing in the sand pit, while being looked over by their benevolent leader, known as Johnny. Some children liked Johnny, and some didn’t. Johnny and his henchmen, used all sorts of nasty secrets to keep control of the sand pit. Johnny’s henchmen grew stupider every day, and Johnny had a best friend, who was like a big smelly whale.
    After awhile, another boy named Ally, pinched the nasty secrets from the big smelly whale, and gave them to Nicky the blabbermouth, and then everyone knew how naughty Johnny was. Johnny wasn’t happy, and in a tantrum, demanded the Teacher find out, who had swiped his best friends secrets. The Teacher didn’t care that the secrets showed Johnny being naughty, because Johnny was the Teacher’s favorite, so any naughtiness got overlooked.
    The big smelly whale also wasn’t happy, and he tasked Benny Ratsfinger to find out who had swiped his secrets. But Benny Ratsfinger and the Teacher proved to be equally clueless, and they both got nowhere.

    Then one of Johnny’s fishy friends, received a tip off about another boy named Ally, and passed it on to Johnny. This made Johnny very excited, and he triumphantly gave the tip off to the Teacher, declaring that he knew the identity of the boy who swiped the secrets. But the Teacher was unimpressed, and saw that the tip off was just silly gossip, because it didn’t actually name Ally, and the Teacher realized Johnny was starting to get paranoid. But the Teacher felt sorry for Johnny, and decided to try and identify the boy with the secrets anyway, just to keep Johnny happy.
    The Teacher could have easily done this by offering some candy to any child who would be a tell-tail-tit. But then, everyone would realize that Johnny was the Teacher’s favorite, when the Teacher wasn’t supposed to play favorites. So during the lunch break, the Teacher peaked inside Nicky’s desk, looking for anything that might identify Ally, but alas Nicky was much smarter than the Teacher. So the Teacher turned his attention to Nicky’s friend Marty. Because the Teacher knew that Marty wasn’t quite as smart as Nicky, and since Nicky knew both Marty and Ally, the Teacher suspected that Marty must also know Ally.
    But Marty’s desk was full of apple cores and bubble gum, because Marty didn’t even know Ally, and certainly wasn’t friends.

    Only Nicky knew Ally. Obviously the Teachers thinking had become clouded, from listening to Johnny too much. By now, the Teacher had become more and more angry, and decided to punish Nicky and Marty. So Nicky quietly complained to the Principal, which caused the Teacher to now get into trouble, and the tables had turned. The Teacher had to confess to treating Nicky badly, because the Teacher didn’t much like Nicky… only Johnny. The other Teachers were so regimented, that they dared not say how badly the Teacher treated Nicky. Regimenting, could be seen as both a strength and a weakness, because one high ranking bad apple, made them all appear rotten.
    The Teacher then gave Nicky some candy, but gave none to Marty. The Teacher felt justified in looking into Marty’s desk, and said Marty was just being a crybaby, because Marty shouldn’t have anything to fear, if Marty didn’t have anything to hide.
    The Teacher then asked permission to whisper into the Principals ear, about how they were just trying to help Johnny all along, because at the end of the day, that was best for everyone. This caused the Principal to feel very uncomfortable, knowing that aggrieved Marty, was being aggrieved again by the process itself.
    Why did the Teacher need to keep the desk peeping secret, when the Teacher had no right to peep? If the Teacher was peeping, what other odd things might the Teacher like doing? How would the Teacher feel if they were peeped on. If the Teacher so disregards privacy, why does the Teacher so need privacy. Marty now says, that if the Teacher has nothing to hide, they should also have nothing to fear.
    But the Teacher could sometimes be very terrible, and actually had lots to both hide and fear, particularly the Teacher’s longtime romance with the big smelly whale. The smelly whale was much more stupid than Johnny, and couldn’t help the Teacher, any more than Nicky could help Marty. And Ally didn’t pipe up, because the Teacher might still be very angry with him.

    This left the Principal feeling more and more uncomfortable, and he was hoping that the Teacher would stop whispering in his ear, after seeing how uncomfortable he was getting. But the Teacher, who was supposed to be trained in powers of observation, appeared oblivious to the Principals plight.
    The Teacher still wouldn’t apologize to Marty, because that could bring all Teachers into disrepute. To get to the bottom of this, Marty needs to start asking Johnny’s fishy friends, since they’re also heralded as blabbermouths. After all, it’s the Teacher who’s in trouble, not Marty. And there’s no point asking Johnny, because he got kicked out of the sand pit for ponytail perversion ages ago, and now no one even remembers him, and his nasty henchmen.
    But Johnny’s time in the sand pit, is still being felt, as some very smelly deposits Johnny left behind, gradually get uncovered. Luckily all the children are in love with their beautiful new leader, who’s charm and grace were such a breath of fresh air and vitality, that she completely ignored the terrible Teacher. And deep down, all the Teachers secretly loved her too. She would never copy Johnny’s strange habit, of pooping in the sandpit, because she’s wise enough to know that a clean sandpit is good for everyone, even Johnny. The children wanted her to be their leader forever, if only that fairy tail would come true! But sadly in another far flung corner of the sandpit, there existed a wicked witch, overheard barking in her bathroom: “mirror mirror on the wall, when will the crusher rule them all…”

  12. Hopefully someone higher up the food chain will be held accountable ?

    However these matters are generally swept under the carpet ?

  13. [Comment declined for publication. I have made clear that conspiracy theories (or even HINTS of conspiracy) will not be published on this Forum. Posting privileges rescinded for one week. – Scarletmod]

  14. The Standard was not available at 6am today then came available at 9am but has gone down again at 1.30pm today!!!!

    So we hope that the GCSB or police have nothing to do with this either.

    Hope I am wrong thinking this.

      • Hi Maec,
        yes and no but Martyn is a preserver of free speech (as long as is politically acceptable) to appears now.

        But some on the Standard are free speech too, but the mod is more stiff on s that Martyn is here and we are eternally grateful for this.

            • * Security and intelligence is a zero-sum system.
              * Government in a zero-sum system is a problem because any decision to help one group hurts someone else.

              * Therefore, security and intelligence needs to have no governance. This is another way of saying that security and intelligence needs to be unseen and convert or have no way of tracking them.

              • This brings us to the question who are our Security Apparatus and who are they actually working for and who are they accountable to ?

                  • Ha, “accountability?” Haha. Don’t make me laugh.

                    Advertisers pay millions to influence you for 30 seconds.

                    News producers get to influence you for 15-30 minutes at a time for free.

                    You pay movie studios to influence you for hours at a time.

  15. Or, Slater convinced himself of a grand left wing conspiracy ,, told it all to plod and now plod are embarrassed they believed the fairy tale and acted on it…

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