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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
Wikipedia: Anthony Weiner
Politico: Polls show battleground map tightening
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
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 November 2016.
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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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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;
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;
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;
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…
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;
“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.
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?
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;
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 Zealand… people 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.
“Correction” = polite euphemism for shit-about-to-hit-the-fan.
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”?
Fairfax media: Small farmer group holds nearly $12 billion of dairy debt
Radio NZ: Dairy farm values set to keep falling
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
Radio NZ: NZ women going to IS areas on rise – SIS
Fairfax media: Kiwi Jihadi brides on the rise
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
NZ Herald: Rise in Kiwi women heading to Iraq, Syria
Yahoo News: Kiwi jihadi brides a reality – PM
NewstalkZB: Kiwi women heading off to join ISIS, Key insists
“I’ve Got Nothing to Hide” and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy (hat-tip: Nitrium)
Kiwipolitico: Threat Distortion as Fear Manipulation
No Right Turn: Caught fearmongering
The Dim Post: The struggle
The Standard: The Jihadi Brides lie
The Standard: Nats refuse to apologise for targeting Muslim community
Previous related blogposts
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 22 March 2016.
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from: Frank Macskasy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to: Dominion Post <email@example.com>
date: Tue, Dec 16, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor
Once again, predictably, our esteemed Prime Minister has exploited a tragic situation for his own political ends.
I refer to his comments on Radio NZ, on 16 December, where he referred to the lone gunman in Sydney as the product of an “ISIS outreach programme”.
There is no evidence whatsoever of any ISIS or any other organisational involvement. Thus far, the gunman appears to have been a narcissistic, deranged individual facing criminal sex-related charges in Australia.
Then Key justified the increase of SIS/GCSB surveillance powers by referencing this lone gunman.
Though good gun-control laws help, no amount of legislation will ever fully curb determined, lone nutters, as David Gray in Aramoana in 1990 showed. Or Martin Bryant in Port Arthur in 1996.
If this is his justification for turning our country into a Police surveillance state, then we have been grievously misled.Shame on Key for exploiting this tragedy and mis-stating the facts for political opportunity.
I would have thought he had learnt his lesson from his Pike River Mine involvement and broken promises.
[address & phone number supplied]
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from: Frank Macskasy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to: Sunday Star Times <email@example.com>
date: Wed, Dec 10, 2014
subject: Letters to the editor
.The EditorSunday Star Times.
I think the Greens will have no problems distancing themselves from the Labour-National Grand Coalition after both major parties voted to increase the powers of the SIS.
I would not be at all surprised if the Green Party builds on this issue and receives a boost in poll ratings as a reward.
Then again, maybe I’m hopelessly naive and don’t realise that 21st Century New Zealand loves the idea of a Surveillance State (to protect us from Muslim jihadists; uppity brown people; Kim Dotcom; communist Greenies; martians, pod people, Uncle Tom Cobbly…)
In fact, somewhere along the line, I slipped through a tear in quantum realities and ended up in a Parallel Universe where the Rise of the Surveillance State is proceeding with hardly a murmur.
Clearly, this is not the country I grew up in.
It is a hopelessly-apathetic; easily-led; twisted variant.
[address and phone number supplied]
Libcom: 1982 – The death of Neil Roberts
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To re-cap something I wrote on 13 September, regarding a hard-hitting interview between “The Nation’s” Lisa Owen and John Key;
For possibly the first time since Stephen Sackur interviewed Key on Hard Talk in May, 2011, this [ TV3’s Lisa Owen on “The Nation”, and our esteemed Prime Minister] was a moment when our Prime Minister faced serious hard questioning and was not allowed to wriggle his way out with nonsensical, glib answers.
Since Nicky Hager’s revelations and the sacking of Judith Collins, Key’s preternatural teflon-shield has been stripped away. He is now just another politician, and if by some miracle he successfully leads the next government post 20 September, he will find his interactions with journalists becoming harder and harder.
It may not be what he says that lowers his esteem in the public eye. It will be the way he says it.
Lisa Owen was simply the first.
Ms Owen was definitely not the only one, and on 25 November, this extraordinary hard-hitting interview between Radio NZ’s Mary Wilson and John Key took place,
Other interviews have taken place, to varying degrees of intensity. From this tepid piece by self-professed National Party-sympathiser, and TV personality, Mike Hosking, on “Seven Sharp“;
To an actual, more incisive interview from a professional, and non-partisan journalist, John Campbell; (Interview starts at 8.10)
As the scandals, gaffes, lies, and other political shenanigans emerge in the coming months, Key can expect a more torrid time with the media. With his teflon stripped away, the media’s preternatural deference to Dear Leader has evaporated.
The interviews and questions will become harder (except from National sycophants such as Hosking and Paul Henry) and his answers less accepted. He will be challenged more often and the public will awake from their slumber to realise with dawning disgust, that on 20 September, they elected a lying charlatan.
Key should be praying that there are no by-elections between now and the 2017 General Election. Not counting Maori Party support, National’s majority in the House is still slim.
Postscript: The PM really should stop wearing the anti-violence-toward-women White Ribbon and just go back to the Silver Fern corporate-logo he usually wears.
Does he think the White Ribbon will garner him more sympathy and support from the public?
Radio NZ: John Key refuses to accept Slater link
TVNZ: Seven Sharp
TV 3: Campbell Live
Previous related blogposts
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 November 2014
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