Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Circumstance and coincidence

206 Responses

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  • Paul Campbell,

    Here’s a direct link to the 3news report so you don’t have to look at Kiwiblog

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Keys-meeting-with-GCSB-boss-revealed/tabid/817/articleID/345034/Default.aspx

    Key's little tick at 9:30 as he's leaving needs to be looped .....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Whoops, my bad. I pasted the wrong link into the post. Fixed now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    I expect there is more to this and less to this than meets the eyes, especially the one-eyes.

    There's a possibility that there are reasons that have been deemed must remain secret relating to Key prior knowledge of Dotcom.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Paul Buchanan discusses the report with Sean Plunket.

    Edit: At about 7.45 Buchan advances a theory I've not heard before -- that Dotcom refused to allow US intelligence access to his files, when the US feared that extremists were using Megaupload to covertly communicate by uploading and downloading files. But his theory is undermined by his error in thinking that Megaupload offered end-to-end encryption to protect the theoretical extremists. It didn't. The new service, Mega, is encrypted, Megaupload wasn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    It's hard to believe in coincidence, but it's even harder to believe in anything else (John Green, writer)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Laurie Fleming, in reply to Pete George,

    And that's why we have Politicheck in NZ. Get on to it…

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    A very tantalising broadcast. What seems clear is that John Key's brain fades about when he had met Fletcher prior to the "recommendation from the State Services Commission" and his assertion that the recommendation was an SSC initiative were essentially lies. So why was he motivated to lie?

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cresswell,

    Small correction: British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Laurie Fleming,

    Funny. A bit beyond resources and expertise.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Crawford,

    RB - you've anglicised the spelling of Maarten Wevers.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matt Crawford,

    RB - you've anglicised the spelling of Maarten Wevers.

    Ta. Fixed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    It also seems unusual that the Prime Minister, the minister responsible for the GCSB, would not even have known who Dotcom was until January 19, the day before the raid on the Dotcom mansion. But no one can prove otherwise.

    And that's the fundamental problem with secret agencies: the secrecy necessary for them to do their jobs effectively also protects their mistakes and abuses of power.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    And that's the fundamental problem with secret agencies: the secrecy necessary for them to do their jobs effectively also protects their mistakes and abuses of power.

    Yes it implies that should have extra, independent oversight, rather than less - organisations like this need to have whistle blowers standing there looking over their shoulders, whistles to their lips

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Euan Mason,

    his assertion that the recommendation was an SSC initiative were essentially lies. So why was he motivated to lie?

    Yes. It's one thing for a PM to decline to talk about security matters (as they have all done), but another to flat-out lie instead. Struck me he's not very good at it either. Should avoid poker.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Last night's Campbell show was an excellent piece of investigative journalism. I hadn't realised that Jerry Mateparae was replaced as GCSB boss after only eight weeks in the job to make way for a hand picked elite candidate. Campbell proved convincingly that John Key lied about his prior knowledge of the Dotcom raid and about his relationship and meetings with Fletcher leading up to that appointment.

    The Campbell Live story showed just how far the people who run our little country are prepared to go to cosy up to US corporate interests. "Terrorism" is a convenient excuse to explain the way our laws have been perverted and our rights trampled upon.

    I expected to see followups this story on our mainstream media front pages this morning. But there's nothing! Are we becoming so blind as a country that an exposé of this level of corruption can simply be ignored?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1378 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alfie,

    Campbell proved convincingly that John Key lied about his prior knowledge of the Dotcom raid and about his relationship and meetings with Fletcher leading up to that appointment.

    Proved the latter but only implied the former. Yet.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    And that’s the fundamental problem with secret agencies: the secrecy necessary for them to do their jobs effectively also protects their mistakes and abuses of power.

    A dilemma with no easy solution if their jobs are regarded as necessary, and presumable some of what they do is important.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    Charles Finny has added to the discussion on Fletcher's appointment.

    I am surprised that this multi-year research project did not throw up some other useful facts.

    How about the fact that Ian Fletcher had signalled his willingness to return to NZ somewhat before the GCSB role came up. I think that you will find that he was interested in replacing Simon Murdoch as MFAT CEO and that he did rather well in that selection process. In the end John Allen came through, but the facts that Ian Fletcher was interested in a return, and that he was an obviously very strong candidate for a senior leadership role in the NZ public service were very much front of mind for people like Murdoch, Wevers, the State Services Commissioner, and externally focused Ministers. That he was thought of when GCSB came up is no surprise. It seemed totally logical. No conspiracy here whatsoever.

    I am sure the fact that he had held a Top Secret security clearance in NZ and the UK for many years would have been helpful. That he had done a series of high profile jobs well in the UK, EU and Australia would likewise have been a factor.

    The impression I had at the time was that a number of senior public servants were delighted that someone as good as Ian could be attracted back. The view seemed to be – let’s try him at GCSB and see where his career might lead.

    I see nothing sinister in the GCSB Director being from a non-military background. GCSB began life as part of the military establishment, but the role has changed substantially. A non-military Director is all part of the growing up process. Ian’s background is perfect for the first non-military Director. He began professional life working with Foreign Affairs, serving one offshore posting. He then moved to DTI in the UK where he did a number of roles, most of which were external in focus. He was seconded into the EU’s DG Trade and again there did a core trade policy job. His background is perfect. There is no conspiracy.

    Yes, Ian’s brother (who I also worked with for a few years in Wellington at DTI) was at school with John Key, and yes, John may have met Ian a few times as a result – both as a school kid, and adult. But so what?

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/05/the_campbell_live_dotcom_conspiracy_episode.html/comment-page-1#comment-1326249

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Pete George,

    Charles Finny has added to the discussion on Fletcher’s appointment.

    That’s useful. But it doesn’t explain the lies and evasiveness around the circumstances of his appointment, if it was simply a shoulder-tapping of a highly-qualified New Zealander.

    It also seems to represent a really remarkable degree of disorganisation to have appointed Mataparae to such an important role and then announce a month later that he’d be moving on to be governor general. Governor-generals serve a five year-term – everyone knows when a replacement will be required. How on earth would you accidentally appoint the guy you want to another very senior role when you’ve had five freakin’ years to think about a successor?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to Russell Brown,

    How on earth would you accidentally appoint the guy you want to another very senior role when you’ve had five freakin’ years to think about a successor?

    Especially if the move away from military type experience is part of a 'growing up process'. A lot of condescension from Finny in places where argument might have served better to convince people.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Reeves, in reply to Pete George,

    So if Fletcher was so clearly after a job back here and so highly thought of, why was a short-list not containing him drawn up?

    And then thrown away by Key?

    And then, and only then, was Fletcher on a new, one-person, shortlist?

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Meyers,

    I'm unsure whether this is piece from john Campbell was rehashing an old topic in a election year or actually bringing new information. I think the real story is somewhere between John Key's "nothing to see here" and John Campbell's "the end of the world as we know it-gate"

    Looking critically at the new information, it was all circumstantial. Mr Fletcher may have taken a day off work to meet Mr Key for breakfast but are we sure he wasn't in NZ for another reason too? And if their meeting was so secret, why would they meet in a hotel?

    The James Clapper visit and the Vicki Treadell thing both smell a little dodgy when put together with the other stuff but I think it's stretching the facts a little far to cover the narrative to tie everything together in this way.

    To me, the "misleading statements" from Key are the real issue and the Kim Dotcom stuff is very circumstantial. Charitably I would forgive a misremembering or two from John Key since his memory appears to be pretty poor but I'm not sure that any of his statements around the hiring process were true. Why lie so much and so obviously?

    National security is always a contentious issue and there is going to be a lot of secrecy around the process. But secrecy is different from outright "untruths".

    Overall, last night's story felt like a Winston Peters-style smoking gun rather than an actual conspiracy.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Campbell Live may turn out to have grossly over-reached, as its critics insist. But there seems every reason to keep digging.

    No argument there -- but it's just as important that journalists don't "grossly over-reach" as the Prime Minister groks the wisdom in the old saw it's better to keep silent (or say "I'll check and get back to you") and be thought a fool, than to open you mouth and remove all doubt.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Michael Meyers,

    To me, the “misleading statements” from Key are the real issue and the Kim Dotcom stuff is very circumstantial. Charitably I would forgive a misremembering or two from John Key since his memory appears to be pretty poor but I’m not sure that any of his statements around the hiring process were true. Why lie so much and so obviously?

    Which in itself is reason for journalists to stay on the case.

    Key's claim of no foreknowledge of the Dotcom raid is also increasingly difficult to believe, especially given that he lied so freely about another element of the story. And, as I noted, appointing someone as the country's top spy then moving him a month later to a job you've known was coming up for five years was a very odd thing to to do.

    Overall, last night’s story felt like a Winston Peters-style smoking gun rather than an actual conspiracy.

    They've been working on this story for a long time and apparently felt they had enough for an update. I doubt they think they've nailed it yet, but last night was interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    @TrevorMallard

    @JohnJCampbell your suggestion that current @GovGeneralNZ only got job to make room for @johnkeypm mate as top spook too much of a stretch

    @CampbellLiveNZ

    @TrevorMallard No. He became @GovGeneralNZ deservedly & in good faith. But, after his departure, the job description & the GCSB changed.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

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