Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Doing over the witness

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  • nzlemming, in reply to Dean Wallis,

    I think John Key has a mental typo – Lord of the Files indeed!

    Gold.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    I was trying to be "positive" in times of negative news and developments. One must never give up, especially when it comes to defending rights, freedom of speech and democracy. Excessive use of search and surveillance, like happened with Hager and his family, is a breach of rights, for sure, and it all looks like an effort to intimidate.

    Hager has been portrayed by many of the more "conservative" folk in New Zealand as a "leftist shit stirrer", this is not a recent development. Him using apparently illegally seized information for his book gave the police the perfect reason to have a go at him. I am sure the government does not mind this happening.

    And yes, under Helen Clark the raids on activists, and in the Tuhoe Urewera communities, by special armed offender and other units, that was an appalling development then. Nowadays governments and law enforcement agencies, same as intelligence agencies are quick with using the word "terrorist".

    Just any suspicion of actively supporting organisations that oppose governments and systems in place is enough to label one a "terrorist" or "sympathiser". The recent raids in Australia were also over the top, and only one alleged islamist extremist was charged - upon raids by 800 police and so.

    While the recent beheadings are as repulsive and criminal as the worst crimes imaginable, this appears to be exploited by the very 5 Eyes organisations in the countries they work in, to expand their efforts to spy and observe people, using all modern technology. And all this went up a few gears after Greenwald and Snowden revealed a bit more of truth a couple of weeks before the election. What a strange coincidence.

    And now Key is apparently doing all to please the US, Australian and UK allies, to even send troops to Iraq, while before the election he was rather opposed to the idea. Key and his government know, the opposition are licking their wounds, so it is the best time to use the momentum and create irreversible facts in policy and decision making.

    We are presented with de-facto situations, before anybody can say much about it. All the media does is simply report on what is happening, not asking any questions.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Is this anonymous?

    If you want it to be.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    I guess the difference is knowledge and intent?

    The people who steal and leak information already know what they have. In the case of this hacker it seems more likely that the discovery of material with journalistic merit was a byproduct of the theft, not the reason for it.

    So what has that to do with Hager? Should the police have taken all Fran O'Sullivan's notes and data when she was reporting on the Wine Box? (Still her only claim to fame, as far as I can see, and she's conveniently forgotten how those stories came to her)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    One can hope for it to be as bungled as the Dotcom raid. You can never underestimate the sheer stupidity of the police sometimes - an anarchist friend of mine had a good chortle over cops sniffing around their ground asking who their leader was.

    However the point is intimidation. Nicky Hager is smart and strong, but this is all for the discouragement of others. Even if the police and government lose in the courts, they'll have won as they see it. As Sophie said, its a bit late to be surprised.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to nzlemming,

    So what has that to do with Hager?

    He likely has material evidence of the crime.

    I don't think the law does (or should) give journalists an outright exemption from police searches, but all reasonable protections under law should be explored properly in court.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It can be if you like. Just tick the box.

    Ok ta. Sooo should it be in the Cayman Islands? ;) Don't want Nicky being prosecuted for "proceeds of the witnessing.

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

  • Marc C, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    I was only trying to be "positive" in times deserving serious consideration on where we are heading. One must never give up to fight for freedoms, democratic and other rights according to the Rule of Law.

    Yes, I admit, the Tuhoe - Urewera raids under Helen's government were a very worrisome development also, where police seemed to abuse powers and went well over the top, also first arresting many activists, who were later left to go again.

    We know the rest of that story.

    There was the over the top Dotcom Mansion raid, and we know how the agencies and police involved even broke the law, in doing what they did.

    Now we have a newly elected government exploit the momentum, created by the horrifying news of some beheadings by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and wanting to send soldiers to Iraq, to take part in another war. It must be noticed that all countries that have agencies forming part of the 5 Eyes network have recently been launching statements and announced policy changes that will result in more use of spy and surveillance technology. And in Australia 800 police did not long ago raid numerous homes of "suspects", supposedly linked to extremist groups, of which only one was charged in the end.

    Now we have the NZ government about to announce that they will send soldiers to Iraq, to support allies in the fight against IS.

    Clearly Key and his government are taking advantage of the opposition largely being busy licking its wounds after the election loss. They are creating facts, and the MSM is merely reporting what is to come, and asking too few questions.

    Statements made before the election are already irrelevant, who knows what will come next.

    Re Hager, I hope he and his lawyers will succeed in getting his computers and so back, and that the police will be taught another lesson.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    The book needs to be reread by journalists. Outside the election fire of 2014. It's not a good enough to see this book as trivial. The book basically shows you how to corrupt headlines and create diversions. It also shows you how to hurt folk the most, screw around with their public profiles until it is socially painful.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    He likely has material evidence of the crime.

    Unless he witnessed the crime, that holds little water. Getting information from someone else is not a crime. If he had videoed an assault, yes, the police would ask for a copy of the recording - they wouldn't confiscate the phone (unlike American cop shows).

    but all reasonable protections under law should be explored properly in court.

    Which the police deliberately avoided by waiting until Hager was publicly not in residence,

    I'm also concerned that these "specialists" (your term) took 10 hours to turn over what is a fairly modest house. That's 50 man hours spent on a witness in a case that carries a maximum of 7 years. That's overkill, and therefore intimidation, and all your devil's advocacy cannot sweep that aside.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to nzlemming,

    John Key in all honesty wants to find rawshark. It looks good and will put off another rawshark.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Marc C,

    Key and his government know, the opposition are licking their wounds, so it is the best time to use the momentum and create irreversible facts in policy and decision making.

    Nah Key won the Election and that was the time everything was /is put in to place to carry through all the plans they have been designing these last 6 years. They have cleaned house, positioned people , softened the public, convinced them it's a mandate because they suggested it relentlessly last time. In essence they have confirmed the plan which is now in it's final stages. We will be mini me USA. Globalisation, don't ya jus' luvit? Corn corn corn.

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

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    matter, the facts of...

    So what has that to do with Hager?
    He likely has material evidence of the crime.

    Que?
    That he had access to the source of the content of his book is not in dispute.
    So you can't mean that sort of 'material'.

    To my way of thinking, the crime was an (alleged) unauthorised access of a private computer by a second (and unknown) party, the crime is a cyber crime and exists in cyber space - what 'material' evidence of that invasive act would exist in Hager's computers or devices?

    Applying that procedural logic, Slater's computers should also be of interest to them - just to be forensically thorough - and I'm sure he'd be happy for them to explore all avenues, in the interests of the best resolution for a healthy democracy...
    ...otherwise why bother?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    They could be out in 36 months.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Unless he witnessed the crime, that holds little water. Getting information from someone else is not a crime.

    If I had five bucks for every numbskull right-winger who's demanded on the internet today that Hager be prosecuted for "receiving stolen property" ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    And, just because this is today's thread, there is no surplus after all

    Colour me surprised. #not

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Slater was the scoop. One writer uncovering the source of power of another writer.

    That power was fueled by Government contacts. It was an outrageous attempt at feeding the media the Government line, an outrageous attempt to place key distraction stories into headlines and an outrageous attempt at becoming the paid pros of N.Z public relations smearing campaigns.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If I had five bucks for every numbskull right-winger who’s demanded on the internet today that Hager be prosecuted for “receiving stolen property” …

    Then there were all those fine minds being exercised back in the Hollow Men era over the materiality or otherwise of Brash's emails. My favourite was the prediction that Hager would "have his ears nailed to the wall" for something resembling lèse-majesté against the goodly person of Dr. Don.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Marc C,

    Just any suspicion of actively supporting organisations that oppose governments and systems in place is enough to label one a "terrorist" or "sympathiser". The recent raids in Australia were also over the top, and only one alleged islamist extremist was charged - upon raids by 800 police and so.

    Sadly, evidence or not, it's succeeded in fomenting the Eurabia big lie. Of Umberto Eco's 14 Ways, they fit #3-9 and 13-14 at the very least.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to nzlemming,

    Unless he witnessed the crime, that holds little water. Getting information from someone else is not a crime.

    From the point of view of the investigation he has acknowledged that he communicated with the hacker and that he received a USB stick from the hacker. Both those thing (the communications and USB stick) could very well be key in identifying the hacker.

    Whatever it is they were after they were able to satisfy a judge that it was material to the case - the police don't have the power to take this action unilaterally (as I believe they do in some cases in the UK for example).

    Obviously Hager's lawyers were able to make the police aware that they would be challenging the warrant and action and police have sealed the evidence until that's ruled on (although they may have taken that action on their own accord, it's unclear).

    Which the police deliberately avoided by waiting until Hager was publicly not in residence,

    That may be the case, but equally it may not. We have no information about when the warrant was granted, what resources were required for the search or what police process in these cases usually is.

    I’m also concerned that these “specialists” (your term) took 10 hours to turn over what is a fairly modest house. That’s 50 man hours spent on a witness in a case that carries a maximum of 7 years. That’s overkill, and therefore intimidation, and all your devil’s advocacy cannot sweep that aside.

    The thing is - we have no context at all for how usual or unusual this is. We don't know what items the police believed they were looking for, what processes were used during that search, whether all officers were involved for the whole time, what downtime there was.

    Again - we literally know nothing about this case, nor what is normal for a case like this. All we have is guesses and speculation. There are plenty of things that could be wrong and improper about this, but until we know more I think it's unreasonable to assume the worst.

    If the complainant were not Slater, and the content were not political and the 'witness' was not a journalist we have no idea if the process would be the same - I don't find it difficult to believe that it would be.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • oga,

    I've just been reading this fascinating look into cults/cultists, and I can't help but think of the National party and its followers when I read this passage:
    As Freud said, the pattern of these kinds of social groupings is always the same, At the center is a charismatic narcissist who “gives permission” to the narcissism of others to come out of its hiding place. This is the pattern of many rock stars, who give the audience permission to exploit themselves once the star puts out the “word”. The party begins, and everyone's private narcissistic fantasy is given expression. A cult is very much like that, sometimes even with the music, sex, and drugs thrown in.
    It seems to me that the past 6 years of National rule have succeeded in creating a cult-like hierarchy in the media, society, and the government.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If I had five bucks for every numbskull right-winger who’s demanded on the internet today that Hager be prosecuted for “receiving stolen property” …

    I believe that idea was explored a little by some lawyerly types at the time of the publication, but it was generally considered that the data wouldn't necessarily count as "goods" for the purposes of the act.

    ...although I think the stolen hard drive that Slater received would be. Although I don't think it was proven that it was stolen.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    The thing is - we have no context at all for how usual or unusual this is.

    The thing about "normal" is that a reasonably large number of people are familiar with it. As things stand, this appears pretty extreme, if not a first of its kind. Perhaps it really is "the new normal", in which case we should be starting to think about a revolution, not downplaying it.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    In any case, there are times when the law has to be bent for the greater good. Especially when those entrusted to maintain the law think it's not illegal when the President's doing it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5420 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    Here's a hypothetical...

    It's 2020, Labour are nearing the end of the first term in power. Whale Oil, who is somehow still active, publishes an extensive series of articles based on hacked emails and chat transcripts between Labour MPs and various Union leaders and some left wing bloggers/commentators that raise serious questions about the conduct of those MPs and the people they were communicating with.

    A few months later after Labour still manages to triumph the police obtain a search warrant to seize computers and associated evidence from Slater in order to further their investigation into the criminal hacking that lead to the release of information upon which Slater based his articles.

    So the victim(s) are left wing, the journalist is Slater, everything else is basically the same - are we still holding the same position? Slater isn't being charged, but his communication with the hacker are being investigated as he's a material witness.

    I'm fairly certain that some of the voices critical of the police actions would Hager would have no such issue in this scenario.

    Maybe this is pointless - but my position is one where I'm trying to look at the most basic facts while ignoring the political context.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

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