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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Goff’

Black Ops from the SIS and FBI?

6 November 2016 3 comments

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Two days ago (28 October), FBI Director, James B. Comey, sent a letter to the US Congress disclosing that  the Bureau was investigating newly-discovered emails from disgraced former US Congressman, Anthony Weiner.

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FBI Director James B. Comey

FBI Director James B. Comey

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The new  material  “appeared relevant” to the Hillary Clinton private-server/email case, according to Comey. In an explanatory email to FBI employees, Comey wrote;

“This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation.  Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case.  Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.  At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression.  In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.”

 

The political version of an atomic-bombshell came eleven days before the US Presidential Election (early voting in several states notwithstanding) on 8 November.

Interestingly, Comey himself admitted;

“Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations…”

Comey tried to justify his disclosure to Congress;

“I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record…”

But in his rambling note, he then revealed;

“…however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails…”

And then pointed out the blindingly obvious;

“I don’t want to create a misleading impression…”

Director Comey had already created “a misleading impression“. By publicly announcing the “re-opening” of the investigation and referencing a “connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation“, irreparable damage had been done to Clinton’s campaign and Trump’s presidential chances suddenly took on new life.

As former Attorney General, Eric Holder, pointed out;

“Justice Department officials are instructed to refrain from commenting publicly on the existence, let alone the substance, of pending investigative matters, except in exceptional circumstances and with explicit approval from the Department of Justice officials responsible for ultimate supervision of the matter,” the letter says. 

They are also instructed to exercise heightened restraint near the time of a primary or general election because, as official guidance from the Department instructs, public comment on a pending investigative matter may affect the electoral process and create the appearance of political interference in the fair administration of justice.”

Current US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, also opposed Comey’s decision to formally write to Congress;

Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.

The response from both Republicans and Democrats has been unrestrained anger. Senate minority leader Harry Reid  was unequivocal in condemning Comey’s behaviour;

“Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another.

My office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan action, you may have broken the law.”

What is even more startling is that at the time that Comey made his disclosure to Congress (28 October), it was not until two days later that the FBI  obtained a warrant to actually look at the emails on Weiner’s computer.

So on what basis did Comey feel the need to advise Congress?

When Comey sent that letter, he had no way of knowing what the emails contained. For all he knew, they could have been recipes for apple pie.

In which case, Comey has single-handedly interfered in an election process by using the power of his position.

Which would be an abuse of power.

Which would be a situation that we here in New Zealand would be intimately familiar with;

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As the NBR reported over this incident in November 2014;

Security Intelligence Service director Rebecca Kitteridge has made a formal apology to former Labour leader Phil Goff for the way in which the SIS released “incomplete, misleading and inaccurate information” in response to an OIA request from Whale Oil Blogger Cameron Slater.

In 2011 Mr Goff said he hadn’t been briefed about alleged Israel spies being caught in the Christchurch earthquake earlier that year, a contention Prime Minister John Key and then-SIS director Warren Tucker disputed.

Dr Tucker’s briefing notes were declassified, then swiftly released to Mr Slater after he requested them under the Official Information Act.

The notes appeared to confirm Mr Goff had been briefed on the matter but Ms Gwyn’s investigation has established this was not the case.

The apology to Mr Goff is one of the recommendations in the report of inspector-general of intelligence and security Cheryl Gwyn, which stated “These errors resulted in the misplaced criticism of the then leader of the Opposition, Phil Goff. Phil Goff is owed a formal apology by the Service.”

Although Ms Gwyn found no evidence of political partisanship by the SIS, its actions did have a politically partisan effect and she found the agency had failed to take adequate steps to maintain political neutrality.

 

The NZ Herald reported;

 

Prime Minister John Key is “in denial” over a report which backs Dirty Politics allegations his staff used information from the SIS to orchestrate a smear campaign against former Labour leader Phil Goff, the Opposition says.

Inspector General of Security Intelligence Cheryl Gwyn’s report yesterday found primarily that former SIS director Warren Tucker was at fault for supplying “misleading” information about Mr Goff to the Prime Minister during a 2011 war of words between the pair.

Mr Goff claimed he had not been briefed by Dr Tucker about suspected Israeli agents in Christchurch at the time of the earthquakes earlier that year. However, based on the information supplied by Dr Tucker, Mr Key said he had been briefed.

The report found Mr Key’s former senior communications adviser Jason Ede helped attack blogger Cameron Slater obtain that misleading information from the SIS which Slater then used to embarrass Mr Goff in blog posts.

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Ms Gwyn’s report said the information supplied by Dr Tucker about the briefing was “incomplete, inaccurate and misleading” and “resulted in misplaced criticism” of Mr Goff. It also found that after learning of the information, Mr Key’s deputy chief of staff and primary point of contact with the SIS, Phil de Joux, suggested to Mr Ede the information “might prompt an OIA request”.

Mr Ede then gave that information to Slater, discussed how an Official Information Act request should be worded, and provided Slater with draft blog posts attacking Mr Goff.

Ms Gwyn’s inquiry found Mr Ede was on the phone to Slater when Slater emailed his OIA request to the SIS.

Patrick Gower from TV3 was his usual ‘delicate’ self when he expressed his assessment of the politicisation of the NZSIS  by the National government;

3 News understands the spy agency and Prime Minister John Key’s office were found to be in cahoots with Slater to get the information out.

It was sensitive information that embarrassed Mr Goff, pertaining to the issue of supposed Israeli spies Mr Goff said he didn’t know about, though he had been briefed about it.

The report deals with how the information got out, and that is through former SIS director Warren Tucker. Mr Tucker is found have been unfair and politically partisan in the way he dealt with the Prime Minister’s office to get it out, according to 3 News’ understanding of the report.

Then-head of the SIS, Warren Tucker, used his position to embarrass the Leader of the  the Labour Party, just months out from the 2011 General Election. It was done with the full knowledge of members of John Key’s staff. Our esteemed Dear Leader was probably fully aware of the plot.

No wonder the Comey Affair seemed so hauntingly familiar when news of it broke.

Because FBI Director Comey has his own political affiliations;

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fbi-director-says-hes-no-longer-a-registered-republican

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Even though he has been a registered Republican for most of his adult life, FBI Director James Comey testified Thursday that he is no longer a registered member of the GOP.

“Although our politics are different — I gather you’re a Republican — that correct?” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) asked Comey in prefacing his remarks.

Comey responded, “I have been a registered Republican for most of my adult life, not registered any longer.”

The FBI director, who previously served as deputy attorney general in George W. Bush’s administration before President Barack Obama appointed him to his current position, donated to the presidential campaigns of John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

 

Mr Comey – meet Mr Warren Tucker.

You two would appear to have a bit in common.

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References

Washington Post: Read the letter Comey sent to FBI employees explaining his controversial decision on the Clinton email investigation

Wikipedia: Anthony Weiner

Politico:  Polls show battleground map tightening

The Hill: Holder, ex-Justice officials question Comey’s ‘breach of protocol’

The New Yorker: James Comey Broke with Loretta Lynch and Justice Department Tradition

The Guardian: Clinton emails inquiry – FBI gets warrant as Comey told he may have broken law

NBR: SIS report equals egg all over Key’s face – Goff

NZ Herald: Dirty Politics – John Key ‘in denial’ over SIS report

TV3: SIS to say sorry for Whale Oil OIA release

Politico: FBI director says he’s no longer a registered Republican

Additional

Radio NZ: Phil Goff receives apology from SIS over release of information to Whaleoil

Other Blogs

The Standard:  Timeline – Key responsible for SIS release

Wheeler’s Corner: SIS Forced to Apologise to Phil Goff says leaked report

The Pundit: John Key – The buck doesn’t stop with me

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 November 2016.

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Coming soon: A terror alert near you!

19 March 2016 5 comments

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threat-level - nz (1)

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Setting the Stage for to Dis-information, Deception, and Distraction

Right about now, National is in very, very, VERY deep trouble.

Dairy-farmers, with associated down-stream support businesses, are facing severe economic hardship as Fonterra reduces the pay-out from $4.15 per kgMS to $3.90 per kgMS.

Dairy farmers’ debt has reached unsustainable levels;

About 10 per cent of the most indebted dairy properties owe a combined $11 to $12 billion, about 30 per cent of total dairy debt.

[…]

About 20 per cent of the most indebted farms hold  45 to 50 percent of the total debt – $15b-$38b.

The value of farms and sale numbers is falling (thereby placing many farmers into a negative gearing situation). As Rural Value’s national manager, David Paterson, said on Radio NZ;

“Unless there’s some bright light on the horizon I think there’ll be a continuation of slow sales and we’ll continue to see a reduction of farm values particularly on the dairy farm sector.”

On 18 March, Bill English admitted that real national disposable income-per-capita fell 0.4% for the year;

“You’ve got a big drop in national income, because dairy prices are down.  At the same time you’ve had surprisingly high migration numbers. So it’s not surprising that when you work the figures you get a drop in national disposable income.”

Not for the first time in his political career, English boasted that low wages were keeping a lid on inflation;

“The labour market turned out to be quite a bit more flexible than we were expecting.”

The Reserve Bank – recognising that a major economic “correction*” is looming on the horizon – has lowered the OCR from 2.50% to 2.25%. The RBNZ’s 10 March media release paints a gloomy economic picture for the foreseeable future;

The outlook for global growth has deteriorated since the December Monetary Policy Statement, due to weaker growth in China and other emerging markets, and slower growth in Europe. This is despite extraordinary monetary accommodation, and further declines in interest rates in several countries. Financial market volatility has increased, reflected in higher credit spreads. Commodity prices remain low.

Domestically, the dairy sector faces difficult challenges, but domestic growth is expected to be supported by strong inward migration, tourism, a pipeline of construction activity and accommodative monetary policy.

[…]There are many risks to the outlook. Internationally, these are to the downside and relate to the prospects for global growth, particularly around China, and the outlook for global financial markets. The main domestic risks relate to weakness in the dairy sector, the decline in inflation expectations, the possibility of continued high net immigration, and pressures in the housing market.

Retail banks, however, seem reluctant to participate in any plan to stimulate economic activity. The 25-point fall in the OCR has yet to be passed on to bank customers.

If the economy enters recession, expect inward migration to reduce, adding to a slowdown in domestic growth and rise in unemployment.

Setting the Mood

In November last year, our esteemed Dear Leader announced – almost casually – that New Zealand could be targeted by terrorists;

“I think every country in the world is potentially vulnerable, we’re probably less vulnerable than others.  We have in this instance the advantage of distance, we’re a long way away, [but] i just couldn’t say to you we’re completely immune.”

And;

“There’s no question about what their motivations are and that’s the tragedy of the Isis story is that you get some very dysfunctional people, for want of a better term, who want to associate themselves with Isis.”

However, on 8 December last year, an entirely ‘new dimension’ was added to the ISIS bogeyman with this dramatic revelation from  SIS director, Rebecca Kitteridge;

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SIS director Rebecca Kitteridge

“Something that has changed over the last year is the issue of New Zealand women travelling to Iraq and Syria, which is something we haven’t seen previously or been aware of.” – Rebecca Kitteridge, 8 December 2015

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The media, rather unsurprisingly, went nuts on the story;

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NZ women going to IS areas on rise - SIS

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As Tracey Watkins and Tommy Livingstone reported for Fairfax Media;

In evidence to the committee, Kitteridge said the past 12 months had seen a significant increase in the global terrorism threat.

“When I started as director of security in May 2014 the so-called Islamic State was barely talked about in New Zealand. Now a day rarely goes by without news of some act of violent extremism associated with IS.”

The threat to New Zealand’s domestic security posed by foreign terrorist fighters and other extremists was real and continued to develop.

“The number of New Zealanders fighting alongside or supporting IS remains small but has increased.”

That included the rise in the number of New Zealand women travelling to Syria and Iraq.

In the same story, Watkins and Livingstone wrote;

Kitteridge said after the committee hearing the numbers leaving from New Zealand were small but significant – but declined to give further details.

As events were to transpire three months later, the suggestion that women were “leaving from New Zealand” was to be proved  a false assertion.

Yet, during those three months, SIS director, Rebecca Kitteridge, maintained silence on the issue and she did nothing to correct the (mistaken) belief that New Zealand women were departing from New Zealand.

This prompted the usual feeding-frenzy and rantings from the ill-informed rabid-right who vent their ignorance on right-wing fora such as Kiwiblog;

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kiwiblog comments - longknives - Jack5

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Kiwiblog editor and National Party apparatchik, David Farrar, did nothing to bring reason to the discussion. Indeed, a few voices of sanity on the blog had their moderate views dismissed and voted down;

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Protestations

Following Kitteridge’s comments, lone voices of calm and sanity were barely reported and given much less prominence;

Hazim Arafeh, a spokesperson for he Islamic community, said he was surprised to hear women from New Zealand may have left the country to join ISIS. 

“We are not aware of New Zealand Muslim woman going over to Syria to get married. If it is happening, we still don’t know if it is a genuine case, or are they joining ISIS,” he said.

Islamic Women’s Council issued their own rejection of Kitteridge’s comments;

The national Islamic Women’s Council is not aware of any New Zealand jihadi brides heading to war torn regions to join the fight with Isis.

Council president Anjum Rahman told Paul Henry that although it was happening overseas there was no indication the same thing was happening here.

Ms Rahman said she listened carefully to Security Intelligence Service director Rebecca Kitteridge yesterday and she didn’t mention the women leaving were jihadi brides travelling to Syria to marry and support fighters.

“All she said was the number had been growing and because it was a war torn area that was a concern,” she said.

“We don’t know the ethnicity of these women, we don’t actually know the religious background of these woman, whether they just converted before they went, whether they converted at all, and we definitely don’t know what they’re doing while they’re over there.”

Asked if the council had information on women travelling overseas to marry and support Isis Ms Rahman said: “No. We don’t have any knowledge or indication of that happening.”

Three days later, The Wireless illustrated the  predictably dire results of the demonisation of muslim women;

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the wireless - I'm not a jihadi bride

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Hela Rahman, a 25-year-old who has been a NZ citizen for more than 20 years, says these comments aren’t backed by evidence and are causing more harm than good.

A few weeks ago, she returned from a trip visiting her family in Iraq. When she arrived at Auckland Airport she says she was instantly made to feel like she’d done something wrong.

“I was going through with my E-passport and it was automatically declined. I had to go over to the counter.”  

The Border Control officer asked Rahman why she’d been in Iraq. 

“I told her I was there to see my family. She just looked at me with an awkward uncomfortable expression. She didn’t say anything and just drew a red line through my arrival card.”

Rahman continued to the customers area where the officer, after taking a look at her card, told her to go down the far side. 

“Everyone else was being let through, even my parents. I was the only one in that lane.”

She was told to unlock her bags and was put into a holding room for a “long time” while the staff talked about her behind double-sided glass.

“The thing is, they make you feel so uncomfortable that you start questioning yourself. You start wondering if you have done something wrong,” she said.

She was asked a series of questions about why she’d gone to Iraq, what she had done there, and who had bought the flights for her.

Although Rahman had travelled to the Middle East with her mum and dad, she was the only one who was pulled aside for questioning.

“I thought my parents would be questioned too, but they weren’t. I wanted to ask ‘why me’ but I couldn’t. The opportunity never came up. I was just feeling so uncomfortable.”

Rahman spent the next few weeks confused about what had happened. Her Iraqi friends reassured her that it was just standard airport security Muslims have to face now.

That incident took place here, in good old relaxed, laid-back, give-people-a-fair-go, New Zealand.

All that was missing was requiring muslim’s to wear a red crescent stitched to their clothes to identify them in public – a practice very popular with a certain fascist regime and occupied nations,  in the the 1930s and 1940s…

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The Truth Will Out

On 16 March, of this year, the truth of the matter was revealed when Radio NZ – bless them – lodged an Official Information Act request and discovered;

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radio nz - kitteridge - SIS - NZ's 'jihadi brides' left from Australia

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“Something that has changed over the last year is the issue of New Zealand women travelling to Iraq and Syria, which is something we haven’t seen previously or been aware of,” she told MPs.

Rebecca Kitteridge, Director of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service

Rebecca Kitteridge, Director of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

In response to an Official Information Act request, SIS, the domestic spy agency, said the women concerned “did not leave New Zealand.

“They were New Zealand citizens domiciled in Australia and they left from there.”

In response to charges of misleading the media and public, the Minister in Charge of the Security Intelligence Service, Chris Finlayson, denied that National and the SIS had  wilfully deceived the country;

“If you go back to the statements that were made there were no implications or ‘winks and nods’ that they were not resident in New Zealand.”

Consider Kitteridge’s statement on 8 December 2015;

“Something that has changed over the last year is the issue of New Zealand women travelling to Iraq and Syria, which is something we haven’t seen previously or been aware of.”

Where else would “New Zealand women” travel from – except New Zealand – unless specifically stated otherwise?

Remember that Kitteridge owned the problem by stating, “which is something we haven’t seen previously or been aware of”. She made no reference to receiving the information from any Australian intelligence organisation.

A day after Radio NZ breaking the story, Minister in Charge of the Security Intelligence Service, Chris Finlayson still refused to issue an apology for National’s and the SIS’s deception;

Chris Finlayson, the Minister in charge of the SIS, told reporters today where the women left from was irrelevant.

“I would have thought the critical issue is were they New Zealand citizens, whether the left from Kingsford Smith airport or Auckland Airport is by-the-by.”

Mr Finlayson said he was due to meet with about 100 members of the Muslim community tomorrow night, and had regular discussions with that community during the process of the intelligence and security review.

“And I’m very happy to proffer an apology on behalf of Metiria Turei who started all this nonsense. I think her performance is lamentable… You just don’t go round handing out apologies willy-nilly.”

The Radio NZ report stated that “the SIS said it had no comment“.

The SIS’s mission was completed; the public was spooked. National’s planned deception had succeeded  – nothing further need be said by the spy agency.

It is also worth noting a noticeable lack of follow-up coverage on Kiwiblog by David Farrar on this issue. Perhaps the discovery that Key and Kitteridge had mis-led the New Zealand public and smeared the Muslim community in the process was not as worthy of a comment as Kitteridge’s innacurate initial comments, three months earlier?

A Happy Confluence of Purpose?

On 8 December, Audrey Young wrote in the NZ Herald;

Meanwhile, Mr Key questioned whether that a proposal he has previously rejected – attaching the Cortex cyber security programme to the Southern Cross internet cable linking New Zealand to Australia and the United States – should be revisited to give wider cyber protection to New Zealand companies.

He made the suggestion while questioning the acting director of the Government Communications Security Bureau, Una Jagose, who gave a detailed speech recently about Cortex as part of a new policy of openness in the bureau.

Mr Key said he had canned the original proposal because of the potential anxiety of it being seen as mass surveillance but he asked if an argument could be made, with enough public debate for it happen to protect smaller companies.

At present, the GCSB uses Cortex to mount cyber defence on Government agencies and strategically important private companies – and only with their permission.

Ms Jagose said the “hard ground work” by the GCSB needed to be done to be more open about the GCSB’s cyber defence work.

She acknowledged the possible anxiety over “mass surveillance.”

It could safely be argued that  stories of “jihadi brides” would scare the bejeezus out of the public, in the process softening opinion to welcome extending the powers of the SIS and GCSB.

If so, this would be a cynical ploy by National and our spy agencies to manipulate public opinion to accept the unpalatable; a massive increase in state surveillance and mass-gathering of data on all New Zealanders.

They just never counted on anyone actually asking a fairly simple question; where did those so-called “jihadi brides” migrate from?

Implausible Deniability

During last year’s  Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee meeting on 8 December, where Rebecca Kitteridge uttered her now (in)famous references to “New Zealand women travelling to Iraq and Syria“, Key made reference to “Jihadi Brides“.

Yet, on TV3’s The Nation, Key tried to evade responsibility for using the term “Jihadi brides” on 8 December;

Lisa Owen: All right. One other issue this week has been the so-called ‘jihadi brides’. Muslim leaders that we spoke to said that they were victimised and confused as a result of your comments around jihadi brides. Do you owe them an apology?

John Key: I don’t think so, and the reason for that is, I think, if you just look at the sequence of events, the first thing is that- I’m not distancing myself, but I didn’t raise the issue. The SIS directed it, and I wasn’t-

Lisa Owen: No, you used the phrase ‘jihadi brides’, Prime Minister. I’ve looked at the transcript. It was you that used that phrase, not Rebecca Kitteridge.

John Key: I didn’t coin that phrase. That phrase is used all around the world.

Lisa Owen: But you were the first one to use it.

John Key: Not around the world, I’m not. It’s a common term.

Was our esteemed Dear Leader, John Key, aware that none of the so-called “Jihadi Brides” had actually departed from New Zealand, and were actually residing in Australia at the time?

Yes, according to Gerry Brownlee’s own admission in Parliament, on 17 March;

Metiria Turei (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Was he advised, prior to 8 December 2015, that the so called “jihadi brides” he referred to during the Intelligence and Security Committee meeting were all resident in Australia and did not leave from New Zealand?

Hon Gerry Brownlee (Leader of the House) on behalf of the Prime Minister: Yes.

Metiria Turei: So the Prime Minister can confirm that he knew that none of those women had left for Syria or Iraq from New Zealand?

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Yes, and the member needs to be aware that as New Zealand citizens it does not matter where they left from. If they pose a security risk to New Zealand on their return, then that is something we are concerned about.

This time Key cannot feign memory loss; erroneous advice;  misinterpretation, or a mistake. According to one of his own senior ministers – Key knew the facts.

For reasons of his own, he chose not to disclose that information.

Key’s Lie By His Own Words

On 17 March, Key refuted any willful attempt to mislead the public by inference that so-called “Jihadi brides” had left New Zealand. As reported on Radio NZ;

Today he denied any attempt to create a misleading impression that the 12 or so women referred to by Ms Kitteridge left from New Zealand, rather than from Australia.

We didn’t say that, it was the Director [General] that made the statement, and what she said was there were jihadi brides.

“The fact that where they leave from is irrelevant, if they’re New Zealanders, they’re New Zealanders, they may return to New Zealand and so we have to deal with those issues.

And remember the Minister in Charge of the Security Intelligence Service, Chris Finlayson, who categorically denied that National and the SIS had deliberately created a deception;

“If you go back to the statements that were made there were no implications or ‘winks and nods’ that they were not resident in New Zealand.”

Yet, that is precisely what Key said on 10 December last year, as this video clearly shows;

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Kiwi jihadi brides a reality - PM - yahoo news

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John Key: “And it’s just a reality that there are women that we know that left New Zealand, ah, and we suspect that they have gone and got married and we know that this concept of Jihadi Brides is not, it’s not my term, it’s an international term, and you pick up the World’s Section of the newspapers today, a couple of newspapers, and see them reporting on that, hundreds and hundreds of women from around the world, ah, going off and, and potentially marrying these guys before they undertake Jihadist activity.”

Reporter: “Do you think it’s strange that, that, um, that New Zealand muslims don’t… aren’t aware of any of their women going over and, and, marrying men in places like Syria?”

John Key: “Yeah, well, I mean they don’t know everybody in the community, um, and you know, they obviously have a, you know, be [unintelligible word] as anyone can on these things, but we can just tell you by what we see. Y’know, people travel out of our country, and people who turn up, through other reporting, and otherwise, in Syria or Iraq.”

Key was as crystal-clear as his garbled-style of speech permits him to be. He cannot claim he was mis-represented in the media: he stated categorically that “there are women that we know that left New Zealandpeople travel out of our country“.

At the same time, according to Minister Brownlee, Key was perfectly aware that  “jihadi brides” he referred to during the Intelligence and Security Committee meeting were all resident in Australia and did not leave from New Zealand”.

This was no “mistake” on the part of the media. Brownlee and Key stand convicted of their duplicity, by their own words.

Coming soon: A terror alert near you!

This is now the second (that we are aware of) mis-use of our spy agencies for National’s own political agenda.

Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, found that in 2011, then-Labour leader, Phil Goff, had been mis-led by  then-SIS director, Warren Tucker, at a briefing meeting.  Inaccurate information had also been provided by the SIS to right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater that was used to damage Phil Goff’s reputation.

As the Herald reported in November 2014;

Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn said this morning the inquiry found the NZSIS released “incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s office”.

Ms Gwyn said she found no evidence of political partisanship by the NZSIS but did find that the NZSIS “failed to take adequate steps to maintain political neutrality”.

Ms Gwyn said the having released misleading information both to Prime Minister John Key’s office and then to Mr Slater, Dr Tucker “had a responsibility to take positive steps to correct the interpretation”.

“He failed to do so.”

On that basis, Ms Gwyn said Mr Goff was owed an apology.

Ms Gwyn said information about a briefing Mr Goff received from Dr Tucker about suspected Israeli agents in Christchurch following the quakes was “not an accurate description of what happened at that meeting”.

According to revelations in Nicky Hager’s exposé, “Dirty Politics“, the smearing of Phil Goff was orchestrated from the Beehive’s Ninth Floor, by Jason Ede – a National Party “black ops” apparatchik.

The SIS was party to this covert plan to smear Phil Goff  and undermine his election chances in 2011.

Unsurprisingly, Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei, condemned both the SIS and our esteemed Dear Leader for willfully  deceiving the public;

“They were using information for political purposes, and that political purpose was to encourage New Zealanders to accept greater surviellance by spy agencies.

The SIS has proven time and time again they can’t be trusted with the powers that they have. They don’t follow the law that they’re required to, and John Key is using spy agencies to pursue a political agenda.”

It is now a matter of time before another dramatic “terror alert” is issued by this government, to further frighten and manipulate the country into submitting to National’s agenda to increase powers for our spy agencies.

The “terror alerts” will most likely come to nothing; no arrests will be made; no details of any thwarted “terror plot” will ever be released to the public – but the ultimate goal of fomenting fear will be achieved.

A frightened populace is a compliant populace.

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Postscript1

“Correction” = polite euphemism for shit-about-to-hit-the-fan.

Postscript2

Did the SIS/GCSB ever keep track of New Zealand women travelling to Northern Ireland, during “The Troubles”, who may have met and married men from that province?

Were they ever referred to as “IRA Brides”?

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References

Fonterra: Fonterra revises 2015/16 forecast milk price

Fairfax media: Small farmer group holds nearly $12 billion of dairy debt

Radio NZ: Dairy farm values set to keep falling

Radio NZ: Incomes dropping despite GDP growth, English admits

Fairfax media: Low wages ‘advantage’ for NZ – English

Reserve Bank: Official Cash Rate reduced to 2.25 percent

NZ Herald: Banks keep their slice of OCR cut

Fairfax media: Distance, spy network means NZ less vulnerable to attack – John Key

Fairfax media: John Key ‘scaremongering’ with details of security threats: Andrew Little

Radio NZ: NZ women going to IS areas on rise – SIS

Fairfax media: Kiwi Jihadi brides on the rise

TVNZ:  ‘The worse the attack the more excited they are’ – Kiwi women leave to be jihadi brides

NZ Herald: Q&A – Why do women want to be jihadi brides?

Otago Daily Times: ‘Jihadi bride’ fears over Kiwi women

NZ Herald: Rise in Kiwi women heading to Iraq, Syria

Kiwiblog: Kiwi jihadi brides

NZ Herald: Islamic Women’s Council – It’s news to us

The Wireless: ‘I’m not a jihadi bride’

Radio NZ:  NZ’s ‘jihadi brides’ left from Australia

Radio NZ: No apology from govt over ‘jihadi brides’ claims

NZ Herald: Rise in Kiwi women heading to Iraq, Syria

TV3: The Nation – Interview with John Key

Radio NZ: No apology from govt over ‘jihadi brides’ claims

Parliament Today: Questions & Answers – March 17 – Intelligence and Security Committee – Advice

Yahoo News: Kiwi jihadi brides a reality – PM

NZ Herald: Dirty Politics – John Key won’t apologise to Goff

NewstalkZB: Kiwi women heading off to join ISIS, Key insists

Additional

“I’ve Got Nothing to Hide” and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy (hat-tip: Nitrium)

Other blogs

Kiwipolitico: Threat Distortion as Fear Manipulation

No Right Turn: Caught fearmongering

The Daily Blog: Key wasn’t just scare mongering with Jihadi Brides – he used it to distract from Tim Groser GCSB spying

The Dim Post: The struggle

The Standard: The Jihadi Brides lie

The Standard: Nats refuse to apologise for targeting Muslim community

Previous related blogposts

Audrey Young, Two Bains, old cars, and… cocoa?!?!

National Party president complains of covert filming – oh the rich irony!

An Open Message to the GCSB, SIS, NSA, and Uncle Tom Cobbly

Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland

One Dunedinite’s response to the passing of the GCSB Bill

The GCSB Act – Tracy Watkins gets it right

The GCSB Act – some history

The GCSB – when plain english simply won’t do

The GCSB law – vague or crystal clear?

The Mendacities of Mr Key #1: The GCSB Bill

Campbell Live on the GCSB – latest revelations – TV3 – 20 May 2014

The real reason for the GCSB Bill

Letter to the Editor: John Campbell expose on Key and GCSB

A letter to the Dominion Post on the GCSB

Big Bro’ is Watching You!

The GCSB law – Oh FFS!!!

Dear Michael Cullen: the GCSB is not International Rescue!

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headless-chickens

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 22 March 2016.

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New Poll adds to Len Brown’s problems

9 April 2015 1 comment

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goff - auckland council - brown

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A recent poll has added to Auckland mayor, Len Brown’s problems. Horizon Research recently  revealed that the incumbent, Len Brown, has a serious challenger in the form of current Labour MP, Phil Goff;

Former Labour leader and cabinet minister Phil Goff is a clear front runner in results of a poll on who would receive most current and potential support if they were to run for the Auckland Mayoralty in 2016.

A Horizon Research poll of Auckland Council area residents conducted between 19 and 26 March 2015 finds Mr Goff, the MP for Mt Roskill, has 20% support of all respondents if he were to become a Mayoral candidate.

Former Mayor John Banks has 8% support.

Current Mayor Len Brown has 5%.

Runners-up in the poll were CEO for Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Michael Barnett, at 5%; National MP for Pakuranga, Maurice Williamson at 6%;  current right-wing councillor Cameron Brewer at 5%; and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, at 4%.

The poll follows an unscientific NZ Herald on-line survey  reported on 18 March, where 5,000 respondents cast their preferences. Again, Phil Goff was the  preferred candidate;

Phil Goff – 26%

John Banks – 22%

Michael Barnett – 15%

Maurice Williamson – 14%

Penny Hulse – 13%

Len  Brown – 5%

John Palino – 5%

One year ago, on 20 March 2014, the Herald published a more scientific survey which also gave bad news for any future Len Brown mayoral-candidacy.

The results were again less than encouraging for Brown;

Only 22.7 per cent of the people questioned in this month’s poll said they would vote for Mr Brown in the 2016 elections; 57.7 per cent said they would not. The other 20 per cent said they did not know or did not vote in local body elections.

Interestingly, the beneficiary of any anti-Brown voter-sentiment would appear to be another “left-leaning” candidate (Goff), and not his previous electoral rival, John Banks.

Despite his initial conviction, for filing a false electoral return for his failed 2010 mayoral  campaign, being quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2014, public perception of Banks’ lack of judgement may weigh against him for any political come-back. The ex-National MP; ex-ACT MP; and ex-Mayor is seen as too “accident”-prone to be considered a viable alternative to Len Brown.

Banks’ re-trial – set for 6 July this year – is by no means a guarantee that he will be found Not Guilty this time around.

Other right contenders are Maurice Williamson and John Palino – the latter implicated in  dirty dealings with a well-known right-wing blogger who ‘outed’ Brown’s affair with Auckland woman, Bevan Chuang;

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luigi_wewege_bevan_chuang_and_john_palino_ODT

L-R: Luigi Wewege, Bevan Chuang, and John Palino

 

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Luige Wewege was closely connected with Palino’s mayoral campaign team. He was, in turn, ‘outed’ by Kiwiblogger, David Farrar, as a liar when Wewege denied in public that he himself had had a close relationship with Ms Chuang.

Wewege and Palino have burnt their political bridges in this country.

Auckland city councillor, Cameron Brewer, has also expressed a willingness to stand on a right-wing ticket. But aside from looking like a minor character who inhabits the comic-book store in the US sitcom, ‘Big Bang Theory‘, it is hard to see what he has going for him. As with Banks, Brown, and Williamson, contenders for a mayoralty require a strong, out-going personality. ‘Nuff said.

Which leaves Maurice Williamson as the most likely  right-wing adversary for a Goff tilt at the Auckland mayoralty.

Despite receiving only 14% support in the unscientific 18 March poll, support for Williamson cannot be under-estimated. His famous “Big Gay Rainbow” speech in Parliament on 17 April 2013  alone must have cemented Williamson as an inspirational beacon of hope for the LGBT community in Auckland.

With a decent campaign team and predictably plentiful donations of cash  from the business sector, Williamson could yet prove a strong adversary for Phil Goff.

One thing is for certain, as the Horizon Poll pointed out, Len Brown’s political career appears to be over;

“Indications are that 65% of ratepayers would not consider voting for Mr Brown if he were to be a candidate.”

It would be interesting to know who commissioned the poll-questioning regarding Auckland’s mayoralty.

The real question for the Left is, would a Phil Goff mayoralty be any better?

If Goff issued any statement on the dispute, I have yet to find it.

It is that silence which I find troubling. And it is not often that I am troubled by a politician’s silence.

 

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References

Horizon Poll:  Brown down, Goff front runner in Mayoralty poll

NZ Herald: Auckland Mayor Len Brown loses backing of top campaign team

NZ Herald: Thumbs down for Len Brown – poll

Fairfax media:  John Banks retrial set for July 6

Fairfax media: The mayor, the love rat and nudity

Kiwiblog: Not in a relationship!

TV3 News: Wewege denies relationship with Chuang

NZ Herald: Cameron Brewer hints at bid as Phil Goff eyes mayoralty

TVNZ News: Williamson’s ‘big, gay rainbow’ speech makes world headlines

Fairfax media: Phil Goff – rebel with applause

NZ Herald: Wharfies supported after ‘disturbing’ lock-out notice

NZ Herald: Port admits leaking worker’s details – union

Other related blogposts

Workers lose their jobs – Day of Shame!

A media release I would love to see from Len Brown

Lies, Boards, and Aucklandports

Lies, Boards, and Aucklandports (#Rua)

10 March – Today was a True Labour Day!

Ratbags, Rightwingers, and other assorted Rogues!

I have seen one future, and it is bleak

National MP admits collusion with bosses to set up strike-breaking law!!

Other blogs

Evening Report: Why Len Brown Should Stand Down and Why Phil Goff Should Stand for the Auckland Mayoralty

Kiwiblog: Mayor Goff?

The Daily Blog: 5 reasons why Goff will run for Auckland Mayor

The Standard: Len Brown’s future

The Standard: Len Brown is toast

Your NZ: Brown eased out, Goff lining up

 

 


 

len brown - john banks - i'm glad i'm not that guy

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 4 April 2015.

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Headlines that come back to haunt us…

12 June 2012 4 comments

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Every so often, headlines from the past come back to haunt us because of some striking element of relevance. This  story from the Dominion Post last year, is perhaps exceptionally pertinent, as John Key’s popularity is now in free-fall. It appears that those who dis-trusted the ‘Teflon Don‘ had good reason to be suspicious,

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Full Story

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An associated poll – whilst not scientifically reliable – supported the claims made by Danya Levy and Paloma Migone that more people trusted Phil Goff to be truthful than John Key,

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As National continues to spring surprises on the electorate; as John Key continues to have to defend unpopular policies; and as the economy fails to improve – his teflon coating has peeled away and he is under  greater critical scrutiny than ever.

The “smile & wave” approach doesn’t work anymore.

National has had three and a half years in office and almost every social and economic indicator is worse than it was in 2008.

People are holding National to account.  And according to polls, they are not liking what they are seeing,

Prime Minister John Key who has been overseas for a fortnight, has dropped in the preferred Prime Minister stakes by 3.7 to 40.5%. Labour leader David Shearer is up by 1.9 to 12.3%…”

With Key’s evasiveness when it comes to fronting up to the public, people’s distrust in him is growing.

Ironically, Key’s  high rating for “best grasp on economic issues” may be his un-doing. Part of his electability was his knowledge (so- called)  of international finance and other economic-related matters. But even with his high rating against Goff (62% vs 16%) he has been spectacularly unsuccessful in meaningful achievement, including,

  • Job creation to cut unemployment
  • Skills training programmes
  • Motivating young New Zealanders to stay in the country instead of jumping the ditch
  • Growing the economy in any meaningful way

Instead, the public have seen only a pathetic  attempt to grow the economy, lacking any real imagination or boldness,

  1. Partial asset sales
  2. Beneficiary bashing
  3. Ongoing cuts to the state sector

… and that’s it.

No wonder that the business sector, last year, voiced their frustrations at any apparent lack of planning by National,

”  Businesses have echoed Labour’s criticism that the Government lacks a blueprint to develop the economy.

Party leaders and their finance spokesmen yesterday fronted up to lobby group Business NZ’s election conference to outline their economic vision.

Business NZ also released the results of its election survey of more than 1300 small to large businesses. While almost all believed it was important for the government to have a co-ordinated plan of action that raised economic performance, little more than a third thought John Key’s Government had one.

Deloitte chief executive Murray Jack said the finding was “disturbing” and the plan Mr Key had earlier in the day confidently spoken to the conference about “was obviously news to most people in this room”.  “

See:  Business NZ sees no economic plan

New Zealanders had high expectations from a John Key-led government. In large part, those expectations were raised unfeasibly high by Key himself. Whether it was promises to raise wages to parity with Australia or grow the economy – Key raised expectations to the heights of Mt Everest,

”  When Sir Ed climbed Mt Everest back in 1953, he wasn’t the only New Zealander on top of the world. We all were.  We were among the five wealthiest countries on earth. Not any more.

Fifty-five years on, we are no longer an Everest nation.  We are among the foothill nations at the base of the OECD wealth mountain. Number 22 for income per person, and falling.

But what does a wealth ranking matter, you might ask?  Why does it matter if we’re number 22 or number four? 

It matters because at number 22 your income is lower, you have to work harder, and you can save less.  You face more uncertainty when things go wrong, when you or your family get sick or lose a job.  No New Zealand sports team would be happy to be number 22.  Why is the Government?

This is a great country.  But it could be so much greater.  It has been so much greater. 

So the question I’m asking Kiwi voters is this:  Do you really believe this is as good as it gets for New Zealand?  Or are you prepared to back yourselves and this country to be greater still? National certainly is. 

Under Helen Clark and Labour, our country has become a story of lost opportunities. 

Despite inheriting the tail wind of a strong global economy, Helen Clark has failed to use that momentum to make significant improvement in areas of real importance to New Zealanders.  She has squandered your economic inheritance by failing to build stronger foundations for the future. 

Tomorrow, Helen Clark will tell us what she thinks about the state of our nation.  In all likelihood, she’ll remind us how good she thinks we’ve got it, how grateful she thinks we should be to Labour, and why we need her for another three years. 

Well, I’ve got a challenge for the Prime Minister.  Before she asks for another three years, why doesn’t she answer the questions Kiwis are really asking, like:

  • Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world?
  • Why, under Labour, is the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world, getting bigger and bigger?
  • Why, under Labour, do we only get a tax cut in election year, when we really needed it years ago?
  • Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof?
  • Why can’t our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house?
  • Why is one in five Kiwi kids leaving school with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills?
  • Why, when Labour claim they aspire to be carbon-neutral, do our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate?
  • Why hasn’t the health system improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it?
  • Why is violent crime against innocent New Zealanders continuing to soar and why is Labour unable to do anything about it?

Those are the questions on which this election will be fought…

[abidged]

The National Party has an economic plan that will build the foundations for a better future.

  • We will focus on lifting medium-term economic performance and managing taxpayers’ money effectively.
  • We will be unrelenting in our quest to lift our economic growth rate and raise wage rates.
  • We will cut taxes, not just in election year, but in a regular programme of ongoing tax cuts.
  • We will invest in the infrastructure this country needs for productivity growth.
  • We will be more careful with how we spend the cash in the public purse, monitoring not just the quantity but also the quality of government spending.
  • We will concentrate on equipping young New Zealanders with the education they need for a 21st century global economy.
  • We will reduce the burden of compliance and bureaucracy, and we will say goodbye to the blind ideology that locks the private sector out of too many parts of our economy.
  • And we will do all of this while improving the public services that Kiwis have a right to expect.  “

See:  2008: A Fresh Start for New Zealand – John Key

Very few of those expectations have been met.

In fact, the only ones who appear to have benefitted the most are… the 1%.

See:  Rich list shows rich getting richer

Perhaps, at this point, someone close to John Key should remind him of this old maxim, by a great man,

You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time. ” – Abraham Lincoln

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Did Goff resign too soon?

3 December 2011 8 comments

The election may have ended at 7pm last Saturday – but political “aftershocks” may yet change the Parliamentary landscape,

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Full Story

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As the Dominion Post story states, “National could theoretically lose up to two seats on special votes and its majority could be affected“.

After the 2008 general election, Cam Calder (number 58 on the National Party List), became an MP based on election night provisional results.

However, a subsequent seat re-allocation due to counting of special votes reduced  National’s entitlement (by one seat) in the final count, preventing Calder from entering Parliament.

Instead, the counting of specal votes gave the Greens an extra seat, and Kennedy Graham became an MP.

Fast-forward to the 2011 general election: If Te Ururoa Flavell’s coup succeeds, and the Maori Party chooses not to give Supply and Confidence to the National-Dunne-ACT coalition – then matters could get very interesting, very quickly.

It would be bleak irony if National lost it’s election night wafer-thin majority; the Maori Party chose not to  support a second John Key administration; and a Labour-led coalition became a new reality.  In which case, Phil Goff’s resignation was somewhat “premature”.

Irony indeed if, having stepped down, one of the two Davids became the new Prime Minister – on the back of Phil Goff’s hard work and victory.

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Politics – reality TV at it’s finest.

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The loneliness of Phil Goff

Gem

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As a Labour party member, the sadness I feel today is tinged with a sense of resignation. John Key is the coolest, untouchable kid in the unforgiving social strata of high school. Anyone who remembers such cliques will understand feeling hopeless and powerless to change playground politics, let alone our country’s politics at a time when brand Key is pervasively popular. In the interest of gracious defeat, let me congratulate Key and National on their conquest.

Last night wasn’t entirely gloomy. New Zealand First’s gallop to 6.8% was like the class nerd scoring with the hottest girl in school.  That Winston Peters and his crew triumphed in spite of concerted media efforts by Duncan Garner, Guyon Espiner, John Campbell, Paul Holmes et al to sideline them makes the victory stunning and sweet.

Another highlight of last night was seeing the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreter working at the Green party’s celebration. It is progressive and heartening to see a political party actively promoting the validity and importance of NZSL, an official language of this country.

Phil Goff – I implore you not to resign, yet I sense the inevitability of you doing so.

In a hostile, biased media environment, populated by media personnel who are reduced to slobbering stupidity in Key’s presence, you never stood a chance. You knew this, so you presumably thought, “What the hell” and you campaigned hard. You’re not a firebrand. What you are is steady, methodical and quietly determined. You have integrity.

Even while your treacherous colleagues sharpened their knives, you persisted.

While the media fawned over Key’s confident, solo fronting of National’s campaign, yet double standardly cast you in the desolate role of man alone, you trundled along.

Last night, your concession speech was gracious and moving. The journalists who lambasted you with cruel, needling questions as soon as you were off the stage should be ashamed. They wouldn’t let you have even a few minutes of dignity. Someone’s concession speech, like yours this time, Helen Clark’s in 2008, or Bill English’s back in 2002, is not a moment for gloating. It is a time to put political allegiances aside and to respect a fellow human’s intrinsic humanity and dignity, to recognise how hard it is to admit that efforts, based on someone’s strongest convictions, have simply not been enough.

Shame on our hectoring, salivating, unseemly media. Shame on your grasping, backstabbing colleagues.

If you resign, I fear that the Labour will scrabble around for another three years with a new leader who the media will maltreat in the same way that they have abused you, out of dribbling sycophancy to Key. No one else could withstand this abuse. That you have come this far speaks volumes about your durability and tenacity. If you leave, Labour will try to reconfigure but will end up in a confused, unpopular scramble of egos and treachery.

Please stay. You did experience a victory of sorts last night, despite being defeated – you came into your own and shook off the ghosts of the past.

If you resign, I will resign my membership of Labour. Suddenly, New Zealand First is looking good.

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Acknowledgement

http://writical.blogspot.com

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Post mortem #2: Phil Goff

27 November 2011 78 comments

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Phil Goff – Man of The Hour

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I must admit… When Phil Goff took Labour into the 2011 General Election, I didn’t really give him much credence as a credible alternative to John Key. Due perhaps in part to Key’s popularity with the Masses, and the Key/Media love affair, Phil Goff was simply left in the background, kicking at the sand, waiting for attention.

He seemed… ok. Nothing special in terms of political leadership. Average.

What can I say? I was totally wrong.

Phil Goff led Labour into a battle-royale against one of the most popular governments since David Lange’s administration in the mid/late 1980s. He scored significant debating points against John Key in two out of three Leadership Debates, and toward the end he trounched the National Party leader in the final debate.

John Key wanted to get away from the “Teapot Tapes” saga and focus on issues? Goff agreed, and threw issue after issue at Key.  With the odd exception, Key was left smiling vacantly; looking bored;  or unable to  even make eye-contact with  Goff as the Labour leader fired  issues at the Smile & Wave Kid.

Goff had risen to the challenge, and in my view he did bloody well.

And at his greatest moment; when he made an almost Kennedy-like speech; Goff gave a concession-announcement that I thought was passionate; stirring; and came straight from the man’s soul. Phil Goff loved New Zealand and you could tell from the raw, naked emotion he revealed. He held nothing back.

This man, I thought,  had become a worthy challenger to a National Party Prime Minister who is more about photo-ops than addressing issues; bending the truth when it suits him (or when he’s caught out); and is a fine illustration of how our society values form over substance. Oh yes, we deserve John Key 100%.

In time, we will get over Key’s “smile and wave” persona. Like the children that we are, we will get bored with his vacant optimism and endless promises for a brighter future that is always just around the corner. And we will yearn for something more mature and more meaningful.

I hope Phil Goff is around when that moment comes, because by the gods, we don’t deserve him. Not when Goff gave us a viable alternative to National’s much-disliked policies – and we failed to grasp what was offered.

I hope Phil Goff stays on as Leader of the Labour Party. He shouldn’t have to resign simply because, collectively, we were too thick to connect the populist leader with unpopular policies.

I, for one, will join the Labour Party as a card-carrying member, and will work my butt off to secure a centre-left victory in 2014 – if Phil Goff stays as Leader.

C’mon, Phil. Wadaya say, boss?

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