Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Circumstance and coincidence

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  • Sacha, in reply to William Leander,

    “going to” is a red herring.

    For example, “did he mention dinner” is not disproved by “he never asked me to eat fish with him”.

    Mentioning a fireworks display is not the same as inviting someone to it or asking if they’ll attend. But offering up and denying the latter is a handy way of avoiding an honest answer about the former.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19699 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to William Leander,

    Yes, of course I realise that they would be lies, as could many other hypothetical conversations. I've also said that it's likely Key did lie to some degree, I think that's fairly well established as probable but unproven.

    I'm not sure what your point is.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Our PM explains away Dotcom by insisting the Key family spends their free time in America., perhaps overdoing the spirit of ANZUS

    All US government operatives stationed overseas get home leave.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Key's handling of the Fletcher appointment at the time could have blunted so much of what's come out subsequently. If he'd said at the time "The law makes it clear that the appointment of the head of the GCSB is entirely my prerogative, and lays out no process. I have appointed the person I consider to be best for the role, as is provided for by the law," that would have been the end of it. There'd have been grumbling about his arrogance, and about his not following "process", but it would have avoided the need for all this tiresome lying and fudging. There'd be no story if he'd just fronted on his absolute legal right to appoint bloody Blanket Man if he'd so desired.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    There’d be no story if he’d just fronted on his absolute legal right to appoint bloody Blanket Man if he’d so desired.

    Yep. Likewise, if Key had simply said re Jan 19th "I'm sure I'd probably heard something about this 'Dotcom' character earlier- he doesn't exactly keep a low profile" we'd be spared the endless weaving and dodging.
    Key knows well how vital for National- and him- it is not to get nailed on this.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2098 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    given the number of questionable processes around Minister made appointments during Nationals reign perhaps Key didn't want to add another one to the ever growing list?

    I would suggest the whole fireworks thing is a diversion - nothing to substantiate that claim but its the sort of thing one could easily forget, and as such the public could and will buy into.... a good line to pout out there.

    I am sure there are multiple levels to the various smokescreens over various possible and seemingly plausible things that may or may not have happened in our spy agencies, US agencies... Dotcom mansion and all those involved - is this one story or several all overlapping seemingly around Dotcom but quite probably he is but a tiny part of a much larger (and possibly perfectly innocent, by intelligence standards) spy story

    The only certainty is that people are lying and covering their tracks over multiple things which seemingly might interconnect

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    ...his absolute legal right to appoint bloody Blanket Man if he’d so desired.

    Well he did have good street contacts...
    a.k.a. <HumInt>

    This way to the Callan fan club
    :- )

    Personally I think threading Dotcom and Fletcher through the same needle seems pointless...
    and dulls the impact of the 'subterfuge'.

    The Fletcher appointment recollections, as Key evinced them, looked, and feel tentative and belligerent, there must be a real reason under all that, I hope Campbell keeps prodding there.

    While Dotcom v Banks is all 'he said/she said/theysaid' hearsay and heresy.
    Though what was that weird chicanery about the cheques being banked in Queenstown, but really banked in Albany? Misdirection?
    Too clever or flip?

    And the Dotcom surveillance / raid is a third matter...

    ...there may be overlapping causalities (and casualties) but they're not necessarily part of the one story arc.
    (But logic dictates that if you play in traffic, you're more likely to get hit by a car...)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    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?

    Well exactly.

    August 2010: Key appoints Mateparae, the then Chief of Defence Force as GCSB director, to take office in Feb2011
    March 2011: Key announces Mateparae will be the next G-G, to take office in August

    It's hard to imagine that there wasn't a good idea of who was in the running for both posts and that when appointing Mateparae to the GCSB role, it wasn't agreed that he was no longer available as a possible G-G.

    I suppose a reasonable explanation might be that all the alternative G-G candidates were unavailable/unsuitable at the time of appointment. Is the advice behind appointment to the G-G post unavailable as "royal magic", or can it be OIA'd?

    Also, it's really interesting how avidly the government's spin machine flew into action on this as illustrated upthread - that, if nothing else would suggest that Campbell is onto something.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    The law makes it clear that the appointment of the head of the GCSB is entirely my prerogative, and lays out no process.

    No: The State Services Commissioner—
    (a)is responsible for managing the process for the appointment of the Director; and
    (b)must provide advice on the nominations for Director to the Prime Minister.

    I think that brings the process into the scope of general public service appointment practice.

    The Governor General on the other hand, *is* appointed by the PM advising the sovereign and is not subject to any such restraints. The PM can even appoint themselves if they feel that appropriate.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    And Key should have an interest because oh…y’know, he’s the friggin head of said GCSB! It was his “operational matter”

    In the same way, I suppose, that Anne Tolley is meant to be across every police raid on every meth lab and gang headquarters?

    Key is the Minister, not the head. It's a very significant distinction. As Minister it is unlikely to the point of severe improbability that he would be briefed in detail on any given operation. However, it stretches belief that he knew absolutely nothing about information sharing with the US regarding a person resident in NZ who was being investigated by the FBI for intellectual property infringement, at the same time as lining up a new GCSB head whose background was not military but, rather, intellectual property.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • William Leander, in reply to Pete George,

    My point makes no sense because your point made no sense. I thought you were trying to highlight circumstances in which everyone was telling the truth (i.e. Banks and Key had a conversation, which was relayed to Dotcom via Banks). If your actual point was that Key might have been lying, you could have just said so explicitly.

    Never mind, it is a pointless conversation to have. Everyone can make up their own minds based the information at hand.

    Since Apr 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    if Key had simply said re Jan 19th “I’m sure I’d probably heard something about this ‘Dotcom’ character earlier- he doesn’t exactly keep a low profile”

    But he didn't, which leads us to believe that there was a reason for his denial and that is the whole point
    . I would bet that Key now wishes he had said that, in fact that sounds so much like a "Keyism" that I bet he is kicking himself right now.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The Campbell show's view, as I now understand it, is that there was no particular skulduggery in Mataparae's appointment as G-G, but that when the GCSB job came up again and State Services didn't get its act together very quickly, a person or persons saw the opportunity to reorientate the agency by dumping the shortlist and appointing a civilian with different skills.

    Whose idea that was is a very interesting question. I suspect the Campbell people believe they know, but whether they can prove anything is a different matter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Look carefully at that section of the law you just quoted. Specifically, the date it was inserted into the law. At the time, Key would have been entirely correct to have used precisely the wording I proposed.

    ETA: Good of Key to tidy up after himself.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/the-chosen-few/selection-process

    Since 1972 all Governors-General have been New Zealand residents. Nowadays, about a year before the serving Governor-General's term comes to an end, Cabinet selects the successor. After sounding out its pick, the prime minister advises the Queen. If she is happy, the leader of the Opposition is consulted, and the recruitment process is concluded.

    If that is true, then Phil Goff should have been consulted in the winter/spring of 2010 about Mateparae (or someone else's) potential appointment as G-G. Interesting to know if this happened?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    . It’s a very significant distinction.

    Well , Ian fletcher himself says About the GCSB

    The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) is a public service department with its head office in Wellington, New Zealand. The Director of the GCSB reports directly to the Minister responsible for the GCSB, traditionally the Prime Minister.

    Guess they just catch up for breakfast eh?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    You are confused about being "the head" with responsibility for "operational matters" and being the responsible minister. Their duties and the expectations of their level of knowledge of day-to-day operations are very, very different. You didn't say whether you expect Anne Tolley to know the shoe size of every beat constable, and her relationship with the police is exactly the same as Key's relationship with the GCSB.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Also sheds light on the process as advertised at the time.

    According to this the PM asked Mateparae "out of the blue" to take on the office of G-G in (logically) February 2011, six months after one would have expected a decision to have been made according to the process above.

    Maybe this was all due to the late Wilson Whineray's illness, but if that was the case, how come we haven't been told?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    if that was the case, how come we haven’t been told?

    Because, according to JK the peasants know too much already and what the hell has it got to do with the bludging scum anyway?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    ETA: Good of Key to tidy up after himself.

    Otherwise known as pulling up the ladder behind you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    her relationship with the police is exactly the same as Key’s relationship with the GCSB

    it isn't - including different legal wording about the nature of the oversight relationship. This was discussed many moons ago if someone with more time wants to look it up.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19699 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Is the advice behind appointment to the G-G post unavailable as "royal magic", or can it be OIA'd?

    Secret due to divine right, sadly. "The counsels of the crown are secret", or else we might realise that they are mere mortals like us.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1713 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    a balmy night in Palmy tonight…
    Go seek illumination on these matters and much, much more, those of you blessed by fate to be in Palmerston North this very night (Thursday May 22), you still have time to get to the Sound & Vision Space of the Palmerston North Public Library before 7pm
    Where Murray Horton of CAFCA and ABC will
    will speak on: People’s Rights before Corporate Profit;  Public Service not Private Profit; An Independent Foreign Policy; No Unjust Secret Treaties  

    Tell, email or txt anyone you know in the Palmerston North area, they owe it to themselves to make an informed vote.

    …and <mea culpa> it might vaguely atone for my completely missing the paper ad there!
    - ” the revolution will not be organised…”

    See itinerary here:
    Paekakariki Tues May 27, 7pm, St Peter’s Hall, Beach Rd; Wellington Weds May 28, 6pm, St Johns Church Hall, 170 Willis St; Otaki Thurs May 29, 7.30pm, Adrian Leason’s Barn, 38 Bennetts Rd

    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    The Policing Act 2008 says that the Minister may not exercise command/control over police employees in the execution of their duty. That's it on the topic.

    The GCSB Act 2003 is a bit different in terms of language, but the rough gist is that the Minister controls the functions of the Bureau but there's no provision for the Minister to direct operations. The only difference of real substance is the involvement of the Minister in signing interception warrants.

    The bigger difference in the oversight is that the Minister heads the ISC whereas Tolley has no part in the Justice Select Committee. Still doesn't change the relationship with oversight to the level of getting muddy hands.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • tim, in reply to Paul G. Buchanan,

    "why not ask Dotcom directly if he or his minions were ever approached by the US government with regard to installing backdoors on his servers?"

    indeed, look what happened to the guy who started Lavabit when he wouldn't cooperate:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/20/why-did-lavabit-shut-down-snowden-email

    Wellington • Since Sep 2009 • 20 posts Report Reply

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