Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dirty Politics

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  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    And then denies that on Twitter. Another editorial triumph for granny?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Russ has the latest on the Oily One...

    https://twitter.com/publicaddress/status/551908490600382464

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Dirty Politics is not going away any time soon.
    http://thestandard.org.nz/the-meaning-of-dirty-politics/

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Ian Fletcher, Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) director has unexpectly resigned. The official line says he's standing down for "family reasons". It was certainly a rather short (3 year) tenure for such a high profile position.

    I'll bet that Johnkey is leafing through his old school photos as I write. Because as we all know, that's the best place to find someone suitably qualified for that sort of job.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    spooky...

    It was certainly a rather short (3 year) tenure for such a high profile position.

    He did what was required of him by Mr Key

    "Mr Fletcher has been instrumental in the significant improvements that have taken place at the GCSB over the past three years, where he has led the implementation of the Kitteridge review and increased the public openness and accountability of the organisation," he said.

    The 'significant improvements' in public openness and accountability are open to debate...

    this was interesting too: Spy boss Ian Fletcher has both hands tied behind his back justifying cyber-security defence system Project Cortex

    The director of the Government Communications Security Bureau says he can't say how Cortex will work or exactly which organisations will come under its protection. To do so would risk exposing vulnerabilities, he says. Nor will he say how much Cortex is costing.
    ...
    He says he "genuinely doesn't know" whether Cortex would protect organisations from the destructive malware allegedly produced by North Korea that has ravaged Sony Pictures, and which is now gaining almost as much notoriety as Stuxnet. But he says it is a valid question.
    "It is too soon to tell. Clearly, there is a serious response and investigation process under way and we must all, I suspect, wait for that to work its way through."
    Nor is Fletcher making any promises about how effective Cortex will be at all.

    that was Dec 29, 2014 - wonder what happened over the summer break?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The director of the Government Communications Security Bureau says he can’t say how Cortex will work or exactly which organisations will come under its protection. To do so would risk exposing vulnerabilities, he says.

    Does anyone seriously still believe security-by-obscurity is a viable tactic? I have to wonder what other wonderful pre-internet security approaches are being implemented at enormous (secret) cost.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    It does make you wonder. The exposure of so much deception, deflection and manipulation has meant that now when I see "resigned for family reasons" I automatically doubt that, it's a convenient reason for departure which isn't usually questioned, but now I need to know that someone's mother has died or whatever the "family reason" is before I can accept this excuse as probably true.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Andrew Little is surprised too http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/263594/labour-questions-spy-boss-resignation

    Mr Little said when he met with Mr Fletcher before Christmas, he was on top of his job and was talking about developing relationships with the opposition leader's office.
    "So it's come as a big surprise, certainly to me," he said.
    "What I find intriguing is, in the published statement, the references to the upcoming review of the security agencies and whether or not he's now been told of something that he finds disagreeable, and this is the real reason he's going. I mean, that remains to be seen."

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alfie,

    It was certainly a rather short (3 year) tenure for such a high profile position.

    yet way longer than Mataparae..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • James Francis, in reply to Sacha,

    I think being made Governor-General is an acceptable excuse.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to James Francis,

    Well it would be if the position of Governor General had unexpectedly become vacant, but it didn't, the vacancy would have been signalled, with plenty of warning to the PM. It was really very odd that Mataparae took up his appointment as Director of the GCSB in February 2011 but was announced as the next GG in March 2011.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Sacha just linked to this on another thread
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/64894646/Erosion-of-democratic-rights

    Dame Anne Salmond on Dirty Politics and democratic erosion, she really packs a punch!

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Attachment

    Today's Herald cartoon backs up Dame Anne's comments.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I wonder if this upcoming Five Eyes meeting figured in Fletcher's resignation?
    Perhaps things are getting a bit too serious, and no longer just playground fun on behalf of his old schoolmate...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Gordon Campbell suggests that he may have left because the govt is looking at merging the GCSB and SIS.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    Does anyone seriously still believe security-by-obscurity is a viable tactic?

    If it's your only protection, you're doomed. But that doesn't mean it's not utterly stupid to publish information about network connection points and other such details. Make the bastards work for every little bit of information that they're going to need to try and break into your network.
    And knowing who's considered sufficiently important to justify government protection can be confirmation of target status whereas before there was just suspicion.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    merging the GCSB and SIS.

    Well, that's one way to get around pesky restrictions on domestic surveillance.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Rebranding also helps disown past failures – ask DoL's mining inspectorate, or whatever that department was called that oversaw leaky buildings.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    But that doesn’t mean it’s not utterly stupid to publish information about network connection points and other such details.

    A good point, but balanced by the limitations of relying only on those inside the trusted circle to point out flaws in your strategy, where others might notice things they didn't.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    balanced by the limitations of relying only on those inside the trusted circle to point out flaws in your strategy, where others might notice things they didn’t.

    The people who will exploit the information are not the sort to tell you what they've found, however.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    he people who will exploit the information are not the sort to tell you what they’ve found, however.

    Depends on the incentives. It works for some people.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I can't see that GCSB does anything in the IT security sphere that an overt and accessible agency couldn't do better. Security is mostly around best practices and tools, and information on these is much better communicated by a normal public body, not a spy agency.

    The origin of GCSB's information security work is in a cover story, incidentally.

    Towards the end of WW2 the Bletchley Park operation had outgrown it's original "Government Code and Cipher School" cover name and adopted the new "Government Communications Headquarters" title. At that stage it had very little to do with (British) government communications which was adequately dealt with by the GPO and the military signals branches.

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

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I can’t see that GCSB does anything in the IT security sphere that an overt and accessible agency couldn’t do better. Security is mostly around best practices and tools, and information on these is much better communicated by a normal public body, not a spy agency.

    How do you know that it would be communicated better?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Reminder about upcoming Waihopai Spy Base protest
    ·WAIHOPAI SPYBASE PROTEST SATURDAY JANUARY 24th
    ·WAIHOPAI & THE GCSB SPY ON NEW ZEALANDERS
    ·NSA SPIES ON EVERYONE

    People from all around New Zealand will be converging on the super-secret Waihopai satellite interception spybase, in Marlborough, on Saturday January 24th.

    The Anti-Bases Campaign’s activities will start in Blenheim. At 10.30 a.m. we will assemble in the vicinity of big roundabout on Main Street (which is also Highway 1). We will display our banners, placards, etc, where a large number of Saturday morning motorists and other passersby will see them. After 15 minutes we will march along Symons, High and Market Streets (through the Forum), across Main Street, proceeding to the office of local National MP, Stuart Smith, at 22 Scott Street.

    At 11 a.m. we will assemble at the office of local National MP, Stuart Smith, at 22 Scott Street. There will be speakers, namely local Green MP Steffan Browning; John Minto from Mana and Murray Horton from ABC; we will picket the office, and deliver a letter to the MP (the letter is below). Special features will include our visual suggestion for John Key’s new flag; and guest appearances by Uncle Sam and “John Key”, that well known double act

    We will be at the Waihopai spy base’s main gate on Waihopai Valley Road at 1.30 p.m. There will be speakers; information will be provided on the function of the base and there will be a peaceful protest, involving a range of activities, calling for its closure.

    2014 was the year which brought further revelations from Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald that the GCSB & Waihopai have been conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders for years (as ABC has said since the spy base was first announced in 1987). Other revelations included details of the GCSB spying on a number of other countries, both hostile and allies, on behalf of the US National Security Agency (NSA). The Government tried, unconvincingly, to fudge or minimise these damning revelations. Since being re-elected the Government has whipped up hysteria about “Kiwi jihadis” to pass even more repressive spying agency laws (the Countering Terrorist Fighters Act); and has expressed eagerness to be a part of America’s new war in Iraq. Waihopai will be NZ’s key contribution to this new war, as it has been to all American wars in the recent past.

    So these are ABC’s themes this time – in addition to our longstanding assertion that Waihopai is NZ’s key contribution to America’s global spying machine. Waihopai is a US spybase in all but name, operating on NZ soil, a vital outpost of the American Empire.

    Waihopai does not operate in the national interest of New Zealand. In all but name it is a foreign spy base on NZ soil, paid for with hundreds of millions of our tax dollars; it spies on New Zealanders; and involves us in America’s global spying & war machine. Waihopai must be closed.

    GCSB Director Ian Fletcher has led by example and is getting out. We suggest that the rest of the GCSB staff also decide that now is right “to spend more time with their families”. It shouldn’t be too onerous for them – they should be eligible for American pensions for services rendered.

    Murray Horton
    Secretary/Organiser
    Anti-Bases Campaign

    <Public information from an email from ABC>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Domes Day...
    Looks like it was a good turn out in Blenheim
    for the annual Waihopai Spy Base Protest.
    At least the Marlborough Express covered it in some detail, video and everything...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

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