Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dotcom: Further news of the unlikely

127 Responses

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  • Juha Saarinen,

    You'd have to wonder why the minister responsible for the SIS wasn't briefed on Dotcom at the time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Juha Saarinen,

    You would have to wonder that, yes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    While the "political pressure" phrase has been picked up on with gusto (or disgust) by a number of people this part of the herald article seems to be being ignored:

    An earlier statement from Immigration NZ - provided by the SIS - said "it appears the government interest in the success of the [business migration] policy may have been misconstrued as political pressure".

    The statement appeared to be contradictory, saying so much time had passed "it is impossible to know whether this is an accurate reflection of comments that were made" while adding "INZ can state unequivocally that there was no political pressure".

    There's more twists in this story than a packet of spiralini. And the story is nowhere near al dente yet.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Pete George,

    "INZ can state unequivocally that there was no political pressure"

    I'm sure they were under no pressure to say that either. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    “it appears the government interest in the success of the [business migration] policy may have been misconstrued as political pressure”

    That interpretation seems plausible, but I'd still suggest that is political pressure in that the Minister, ostensibly wanting to make the business migration scheme a success, was basically applying pressure.

    Honestly at this stage the details of Dotcom's residency, the GCSB and SIS involvement at various stages, the police operation... All make it very hard to believe that the Prime Minister wasn't briefed at least once or twice.

    If he really is telling the truth about not having heard of Dotcom prior to the raid then it's a pretty serious indictment into the way he runs his government I'd think because at least a few of those occasions certainly should have been brought to his attention.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    this was always a story that had more legs than a creepy crawly thing... if the Prime Minister has, as many believe, been less than honest about his knowledge of Dotcom I bet he and his strategists are rueing the day they decided to hunker down and hope it would all blow over

    I believe Mr Gower would trumpet this as a potential game changer... of which I am sure there is plenty more to come

    What a sorry affair this entire thing is and continues to be

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 538 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Sad to say but I suspect the wider electorate will still not care a whim. Do they have a job, is the economy 'booming' (perceptually, at least), is NZ 'on the right track'? they will see Kim Dotcom as a buffoon and Collins/McCully/Williamson's misdemeanours notwithstanding, Key's prevarication, Ryall/Bridges/Brownlee's incompetence - none of these have any impact so long as things seem to be heading right. As Clinton said, "It's the economy, stupid."

    Unless they can catch Key out with a direct lie. And he's too smart for that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Mark Graham,

    Unless they can catch Key out with a direct lie. And he's too smart for that.

    I doubt even a direct lie would do it. He's the ultimate teflon PM.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Juha Saarinen,

    You’d have to wonder why the minister responsible for the SIS wasn’t briefed on Dotcom at the time.

    Whilst I actually do consider it conceivable that he wasn’t briefed, it’s only because I think Key treats oversight of the intelligence services as akin to having DPS officers shadowing him: I’m so cool because I get to hang out with these guys, just like my buddy Barack.
    It’s not serious, it’s not important, and it’s sure as hell not something that should take time away from golfing with foreign heads of state and local party donors.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Petyt, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Yes, that's my impression of him too. It may be that his casual nature will finally bring him down but it doesn't feel like that's going to happen yet.

    Japan • Since Apr 2014 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Akehurst,

    Has anyone raised the spectre of "plausible deniability"? Or is this an issue that doesn't interest most New Zealanders, to borrow from the Key vernacular?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Euan Mason,

    All our PM stands for is ... Plastic Man.

    “No-one ever gets the truth from … Plastic Man”

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1896 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The herald has helpfully put all the emails in one place.

    It's a bloody interesting read.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ah. Andrea Vance follows up. Interesting ...

    The Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) withdrew its objections to Kim Dotcom's residency as the Government negotiated a deal with a major Hollywood studio over The Hobbit.

    Mega boss Dotcom, founder of the Internet-Mana party, believes US authorities wanted to keep him in New Zealand so it would be easier to extradite him on internet piracy and copyright infringement charges.

    He has long claimed the New Zealand Government was acting at the behest of the American film industry but has never offered proof.

    Warner Brothers had threatened to pull the plug on filming the The Hobbit movies in New Zealand, which would have cost the domestic film industry thousands of jobs.

    The National Government flew 10 top Hollywood executives to Wellington and thrashed out a deal at Premier House, the official residence of Prime Minister John Key.

    Sources today pointed Fairfax Media to the timing of the Hobbit negotiations and the spy agency U-turn.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Without going fully tinfoil hat, it's possible that a decision was made not to deny residence because to do so would have tipped Dotcom off as to the FBI's interest in him.

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

  • Alastair Thompson,

    I think there is piles in this that is new in response to the "more of the same" meme which seems to be gaining traction in the Socialverse. It seems to me that the Govt, John Key and Jonathan Coleman are caught in something of a bind.

    The current defence/explanation for the "political pressure" asserts that Jonathan Coleman (and the SIS and INZ were prepared to go along with this) was willing to sell residency to a person for $10 million being deposited in a NZ bank account.

    The alternate version is that Coleman did some dirty work for the Cabinet Club which he cleverly managed to keep at arms length through a special delegation. It looks externally as if everybody who was involved in this apparent conspiracy knew full well that what they were up to was as dodgy as.

    So either they corruptly sought to allow a criminal type into NZ knowing him to be a bad egg - in return for a bank making some fairly small bikkies (a nd the SIS went along with this) - or there was a conspiracy to lure him to NZ so they could offer him up to the Americans - as Kim Dotcom has long claimed.

    The evidence is increasingly pointing to the latter, but both explanations play rather bad for the PM.

    I have long wondered if this is the real reason that Simon Power resigned. He was Justice Minister through all this and also well informed (unlike the PM) of what was afoot.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Mega boss Dotcom, founder of the Internet-Mana party, believes US authorities wanted to keep him in New Zealand so it would be easier to extradite him on internet piracy and copyright infringement charges.

    He has claimed to have evidence to back up his claims but says he is holding it back until the appropriate time, which he had said was court.

    Court has now been delayed until next year.

    Will Dotcom keep waiting or release his evidence to blow Key out of the election? That's presuming he has the claimed evidence.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    there was a conspiracy to lure him to NZ

    He was already here when the deals were apparently done. The talk of "residency" means permanent residency, not just being a resident.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    A couple of random bits:

    Chris Keall in NBR today:

    Another factor: Mr Dotcom has long maintained that Prime Minister John Key knew about the January 2011 raid on his rented mansion long before it occurred. I suspect he's going to drop some new evidence on that one shortly before the election.

    @KimDotcom two weeks ago

    September 15th A big day for New Zealand
    THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
    Event details coming soon

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    there was a conspiracy to lure him to NZ

    He was already here when the deals were apparently done. The talk of “residency” means permanent residency, not just being a resident.

    Actually no. This June 2011 story by David Fisher refers to his intention to settle in New Zealand. He’d been back and forth on visits from Hong Kong, once for two months, but he may well not have settled had his residency not been granted.

    It’s interesting that while the character grounds for residency were overridden by a “special direction” in 2010, his bid to buy the Coatesville mansion was rejected on character grounds by the Overseas Investment Commission in 2011.

    FWIW, I do think his previous convictions were relatively minor. The computer hacking and computer fraud convictions were earned as a minor (the judge said “youthful foolishness”) and the procedural stock trading offences in Hong Kong attracted a fine of $US1250. The worst of them was the 2001 pump-and-dump share purchase in Letsbuyit.com, which caused genuine losses for other investors, but he copped a plea and avoided any jail time there (he could conceivably have been acquitted – German law was messy in that area). It’s indicative of his longtime tendency to ride just the wrong side of the line.

    But none of those were the stuff of a joint FBI and New Zealand police operation, which came in while his residency application was being considered. That was surely pretty major.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • William Leander,

    The emails clearly say that "INZ have enough on his criminal history to not give him PR". And then it turns out that he is a person of interest in an FBI investigation, which should ring further alarm bells. So why on earth is he was he given residency? It certainly wasn't in NZ's interest to do so - as we have seen, he's cost the justice system a lot of money, and all the trouble could have been avoided if they had simply used the available grounds to deny him residency.

    Since Apr 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    I really enjoyed the idea of the tinfoil hat so I have made one and am wearing it now.

    Perhaps immigration was looking firmly at .com's bank account when issuing visas, just like they have when processing other businessmen with dubious histories.

    Since Mar 2010 • 379 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Sources today pointed Fairfax Media to the timing of the Hobbit negotiations and the spy agency U-turn.

    Russell: Um… would that be KDC or Internet Mana shopping a story paragraph three of Andrea’s own story says Dotcom’s been pushing for a while? Look, we’re all grown ups here perfectly well aware the Press Gallery is being pitched and spun from all sides all the time, but please let’s not be cute…

    But none of those were the stuff of a joint FBI and New Zealand police operation, which came in while his residency application was being considered. That was surely pretty major.

    So is alleging that the Government ran some convoluted residency honey trap at the behest of a foreign corporation, or something. I’ve given up chanting “correlation does not imply causation” at the media, but someone needs to even if you do believe there’s no corruption or depravity the Government won’t stoop to…

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Russell: Um… would that be KDC or Internet Mana shopping a story paragraph three of Andrea’s own story says Dotcom’s been pushing for a while? Look, we’re all grown ups here perfectly well aware the Press Gallery is being pitched and spun from all sides all the time, but please let’s not be cute…

    It adds some dates to the timeline. Dates during which the government was negotiating with interests who have participated as parties to the court action since.

    So is alleging that the Government ran some convoluted residency honey trap at the behest of a foreign corporation, or something. I’ve given up chanting “correlation does not imply causation” at the media, but someone needs to even if you do believe there’s no corruption or depravity the Government won’t stoop to…

    As I noted, the new emails do not prove the conspiracy theory. But it’s entirely reasonable to ask why the SIS would have done a 90-minute turnaround on its strong advice to Immigration NZ, given that it felt that even the earlier offences had been grounds for refusal of residency to someone it now knew to also be the subject of a current FBI and police investigation. Also, it’s reasonable to ask what the nature of the “political pressure” was.

    Edit: It's also reasonable to ask how the head of the SIS, Warren Tucker, could have forgotten to mention this unusual situation involving a foreign government agency to the responsible minister, Mr Key. Particularly given that a couple of Key's own ministers were connected to Dotcom and might surely have wanted to know.

    As I said in the post, today’s revelations lend some credence to Dotcom’s claim in this respect.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to william blake,

    Perhaps immigration was looking firmly at .com’s bank account when issuing visas, just like they have when processing other businessmen with dubious histories.

    Or the minister was. That's really the best-case scenario for the government at the moment: they overruled the SIS to get residency for a guy with a criminal record and a current FBI investigation because he was just really rich.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

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