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Posts Tagged ‘surveillance state’

I spy with my multitude of Eyes

13 September 2018 Leave a comment

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Several pieces of legislation enacted under the previous government saw a vast increase in State surveillance. The GCSB  – first created in 1977 by former National PM, Robert Muldoon, – was initially set up to provide overseas surveillance during the Cold War era.

By May 2013, the powers of the GCSB were extended to permit domestic surveillance of New Zealanders by former National PM, John Key.

A variety of  state “security” and extensions of surveillance powers have been enacted over the past sixteen years;

Labour:

Terrorism Suppression Act 2002

National:

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013

Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill (aka Customs and Excise Amendment Act 2014)

Not to be outdone, the private sector also dabbles with surveillance. On most occassions, that surveillance is subtle.

In other instances, it is overt and in-your-face.

An example of this is the recently (and currently on-going) re-developement at Kilbirnie  Pak N Save supermarket in Wellington’s Eastern suburb.  The store’s internal up-grade has included the sprouting of dozens of security cameras. In some areas, the high-security of CCTV cameras, descending from the ceiling on poles – eerily like some mutant upside-down mushroom – would be more appropriate for a top secret military installation.

Upon entering the store, the first camera is apparent;

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Foyer at Kilbirnie Pak N Save

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Walking through the turn-styles, into the first part of the super-market – more cameras;

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The Fruit & Vege section;

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Meats…

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Chilled goods, heading toward the Deli and Bakery;

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The Bakery section…

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Down the side of the building (greeting cards, breads, et al)…

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And a close-up of the all-seeing eyes…

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Until  we reach the check-out – and the ubiquitous cameras become a parody of surveillance as their numbers become apparent;

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking blog - The Daily Blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Kilbirnie Pak N Save - security cameras - cctv - surveillance - nz

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In case the reader has difficulty making out the individual cameras, they are highlighted here;

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Even banks don’t have as many cameras.

In an age of tracking by online corporations like Google and Facebook; by the apps in our smartphones; by CCTVs in buildings, streets, offices, etc – we have reached a surveillance state far surpassing anything envisioned by George Orwell.

Some of us will recall the days of the friendly corner grocer;

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Acknowledgement: Wairarapa Times-Age

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Once upon a time, retailers functioned with not a camera in sight;

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Acknowledgement: NZ Herald

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Those days now seem long gone.

Perhaps this is the price of “progress”?

Ironically, the advent of the Surveillance State and Surveilled Society has been long foreseen by academics, writers, activists, etc. As surveillance increased – both State and commercial – the public became more and more inured to every-present prying eyes.

The constant warnings of encroachments into our privacy; against increasing State power; alerting us to the perils of Big Data held by offshore (and domestic) corporations have become a Cry Wolf! to most of the public. Unless you are a left-wing blogger or investigative journalist who become an irritant to The Established Order, the public perceive no threat to their glacial erosion of our privacy.

Couched in terms of “preserving law and order” and/or “fighting terrorism”, people will think little of our own country as a Surveilled Society. Especially if they perceive no “down side” to their personal liberty. Previous warnings of a Big Brother State have – apparently – not become reality.

Like the frog-in-the-pan-of-heating-water fable, fears gradually gave way to blasé acceptance. We have arrived to a society where the presence of literally dozens of  overhead surveillance cameras in a supermarket now barely raises an eyebrow.

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References

Wikipedia: GCSB – History

Parliament: Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill

Wairarapa Times-Age: First class First St grocer

NZ Herald: (story removed from website)

NZ Law Society: Privacy Commissioner issues guidance on personal information and transparency reporting

Fairfax media: Police apologise to Nicky Hager over Dirty Politics raid as part of settlement

Previous related blogposts

Surveillance laws, Strikebreaking, & Subversive groups

2013 – The Year We Became a Policed Surveillance State

The Growth of State Power; mass surveillance; and it’s supporters

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» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 9 September 2018.

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= fs =

Today’s irony was brought to you courtesy of former ACT MP and Govt Minister, Rodney Hide

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big-brother-is-watching-you

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Either Rodney Hide is taking the piss, or Karma has well and truly caught up with one of the National Government’s previous political flunkies;

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NZ Herald - Rodney Hide - ACT - Why am I under investigation - SIS - GCSB - surveillance - police state - nothing to hide nothing to fear

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In case the story mysteriously disappears, here is the full text, from the NZ Herald;

The state apparently has me under covert investigation.

It began two weeks ago. My Christchurch friends and colleagues were served, some at home, some at work. They were summonsed by a senior insolvency officer who explained they could be apprehended should they refuse. Such notices are a detention, an arrest without charge.

The guys are motor mechanics, engineers and motor engineers.

They turn up the following Wednesday as ordered, each at separate times. The deputy official assignee swears their oath.

They are interrogated by private investigators from a firm called InDepth Forensics, Hamilton.

I have the recordings.

On Thursday I email and ring the PI firm. “Why are you investigating me?” They hang up.

I email and leave messages for Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment manager Mandy McDonald.

She won’t return my calls.

On Friday I go to the MBIE office in Christchurch. The boss can’t answer my questions: she doesn’t know what’s happening. She says she will speak to her solicitor and get back to me. She doesn’t.

I ring Minister Steven Joyce’s office. I make no progress.

I return to MBIE’s office on Monday. I’m refused an appointment. I’m told the deputy official assignee “only administered the oath”. But the deputy official assignee signed the recording as “interviewer”. I’m asked to leave. I refuse.

I wait quietly in the foyer for 2 hours.

Joyce’s staffer emails: But because the “Official Assignee [is] an independent body, and also under Hon [Paul] Goldsmith’s responsibilities, I do not think I can assist you further.”

Goldsmith is in Paris explaining how he’s making “it easier for businesses to increase productivity and innovate”.

I ring the Institute of Private Investigators. Useless. I email the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority. Ditto.

I complain to the Privacy Commissioner. I don’t hear back.

I provide a two-page summary for local MP Nicky Wagner. She rings. Finally someone is taking my complaint seriously.

On Tuesday I drop in a letter to the Christchurch MBIE. Now there’s security. The guard tells me he’s there to see his girlfriend. I tease him.

Keith’s still there an hour later. He admits he has been called because of me. He wants to know if I will be back.

Tuesday night. Wagner must have kicked butt. Mandy McDonald sends a clearly hurried email. She assures me I am not under investigation. It’s taken nearly a week.

But why the questioning under the detention powers?

The next day I get a letter from another MBIE staffer warning me that reporting the content of their examinations of my friends and colleagues would render me liable to a year in prison plus a $5000 fine. But, according to the email from McDonald, I’m reporting a non-investigation.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, Rodders. That’s what John Banks kept telling us. That’s what John Key kept telling us. So obviously, the extension to the powers of the GCSB, SIS, and other government departments – which was supported by ACT – should be a non-issue, right?

Really, Rodney, you’ve been part of the growth of the Surveillance State in this country and now you complain that you’re being surveilled?

Really?

Well, my little cherubic,  Right Wing mate, you oughtn’t. It was inevitable really. After all, in the early days of the USSR, the nascent totalitarian State’s security arm (Cheka/NKVD/KGB) devoured many of the high-ranking Communist Party officials. They fell foul to their own pernicious State power.

Welcome to reality.

When Dear Leader’s security thugs throw you in jail for whatever transgression you’ve incurred against the State, remember to remind your   cell-mates that you were partially responsible for the following laws increasing the power of the State;

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013

Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

Eventually, it all catches up with those in power – an intimate lesson Rodney has learned.

I bet he never thought it would happen to him?

Karma. I love that gal.

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References

NZ Herald: Rodney Hide – Why am I under investigation?

Additional

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013

Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

Parliament: Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

Previous related blogposts

Citizen A: Kim Dotcom/GCSB special with Chris Trotter & Phoebe Fletcher

Nigella Lawson, GCSB, Christchurch re-build, and Malcolm Burgess on Campbell Live

Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland (Part Toru)

The “man ban”; animal testing; GCSB Bill; and compulsory miltary training

David Cunliffe announces Labour Govt will repeal GCSB Bill!! **Updated**

A letter to the Dominion Post on the GCSB

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

The Mendacities of Mr Key #1: The GCSB Bill

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

TV3 – Campbell Live’s GCSB Public Vote

The real reason for 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?

A proposed Labour-Green-Mana(-NZ First?) agenda – part tahi

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

The GCSB law – Oh FFS!!!


 

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6a00d83451d75d69e201901e6882a1970b-800wi.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 April 2015.

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Latest Horizon Poll – Who paid for survey questions on mass surveillance/data collection?

23 March 2015 2 comments

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A recent Horizon poll had the usual mix of political and business-oriented questions. It is usually fairly easy to get a rough idea who commissioned certain questions in a poll. In this Horizon poll, received on 19 March, it seems fairly obvious that a powerco and peer-to-peer/crowd-equity -under commissioned two sets of questions.

The last set of questions, though, related to the topical issue of mass surveillance and data collection.

Note the bottom of page 20. Someone is very keen to know how the public feel about John Key’s “management of the issue of the mass interception of personal data”.

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

 

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Note the questions on the page below;

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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Horizon poll - GCSB - mass collection of personal data - mass surveillance

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It will be interesting to know what the results are. And even more interesting to know who commissioned the questions relating to mass surveillance/data collection?

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Max Bradford

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= fs =

Someone at Fairfax is a subversive?

16 March 2015 2 comments

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Pointed out to me by several Facebook readers…

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fairfax - stuff - story - Customs seeks powers to disclose passwords  - customs can go fuck themselves

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Note the URL?

http://www.stuff.co.nz/66957924/customs-can-go-fuck-themselves

Someone at Fairfax/Stuff has a wickedly subversive sense of humour.

I may have to re-new my subscription to the ‘Dominion Post‘…

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 March 2015.

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Letter to the editor – Time to milk a tragedy again, by our Dear Leader

17 December 2014 4 comments

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Tue, Dec 16, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor

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The Editor
Dominion Post

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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.

-Frank Macskasy

 

[address & phone number supplied]

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References

Radio NZ:  A tragedy for the Australian families – Key


 

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No more anarchy

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Letter to the editor – through a mirror, crack’d?

10 December 2014 Leave a comment

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Sunday Star Times <editor@star-times.co.nz>
date: Wed, Dec 10, 2014
subject: Letters to the editor 

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The Editor
Sunday Star Times
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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.
-Frank Macskasy

 

[address and phone number supplied]

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References

Libcom: 1982 – The death of Neil Roberts

 


 

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September 15 RNZ interviews – and then the Moment of Truth

18 September 2014 Leave a comment

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GCSB- Key - I think they're onto us

Acknowledgement: Emmerson

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15 September – Leading up to the Moment of Truth public meeting this evening, these Radio NZ interviews are worth listening to;

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PM defends stance on GCSB, dismisses Dotcom - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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Journalist promises to reveal mass surveillance by GCSB  - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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PM considers releasing classified documents on GCSB  - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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Intelligence analyst on Glenn Greenwald's GCSB revelations  - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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Glenn Greenwald on extent of GCSB mass surveillance  - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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Politics with Mike Williams and Matthew Hooton 15 Sept 2014  - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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Email and spy claims land on campaigning Key   - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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More on mass surveillance claims from an IT investigator    - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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Southern Cross undersea cables is rejecting claims   - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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Latest Dotcom revelations under scrutiny    - radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

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difference between mass protection and surveillance- radio nz - glenn greenwald - 15 september 2014

Alt link

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And finally, the Moment of Truth…

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(Scroll forward to where it begins at 21′ 54″)

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Additional

Radio NZ: Key & Dotcom – the story so far (Time Line)

 


 

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 September 2014

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Letter to the Editor – Our PM insults a world-reknowned investigative journalist

13 September 2014 6 comments

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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Our esteemed Dear Leader must be in full panic mode when he insults a visiting investigative journalist of the calibre of Glenn Greenwald;

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Radio NZ - PM says Greenwald's claims are wrong - GCSB - mass surveillance - Glenn Greenwald

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Key went on to say,

“When you hack into people’s information and you steal it, sometimes you get part of the information but not all of the information.

Now, in the fullness of time we’ll respond to Dotcom’s little henchman, but mark my words, he’s wrong. There never has been mass surveillance and there is no mass surveillance.”

Which prompted me to pen this letter to the New Zealand Herald;

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date: Sat, Sep 13, 2014
subject: Letter to the Editor

 

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The editor
NZ Herald
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John Key is becoming more Muldoonesque with each erupting scandal. His latest attack on visiting American investigative journalist, Glenn Greenwald, is simply beyond the pale.

Key says,“Now, in the fullness of time we’ll respond to Dotcom’s little henchman, but mark my words, he’s wrong. There never has been mass surveillance and there is no mass surveillance.”

Since when in a visiting journalist anybody’s “henchman”?

This is not the first time Key has abused investigative journalists who have uncovered unpleasant activities by this current government.

In May 2011,John Key derided Jon Stephenson’s research into NZ secret  activities in Afghanistan by attacking the journalists’ reputation and character;

“I’ve got no reason for NZDF to be lying, and I’ve found [Stephenson] myself personally not to be credible.”

In September 2011, Key attacked another investigative journalist, Nicky Hager, for his expose on  New Zealand’s covert military activities, in conjunction with the CIA,  in Afghanistan.

John Key dismissed Hager’s book;“I don’t have time to read fiction,”

That “fiction” Key referred to contained 1,300 footnotes of referencing documentation in Hager’s book.

In August this year, Key again attacked  Nicky Hager, for his expose in dirty dealings between Key’s office, a right-wing blogger, Judith Collins, and other right-wing extremists. Key was again dismissive;

“Mr Hager’s making claims he can’t back up and they’re not factually correct.”

And,
“At the end of the day we’re five weeks out from an election, people can see that Nicky Hager’s made a whole lot of things up in his book, (they) can see he can’t back a lot of them up. People can see this is a smear campaign by Nicky Hager.”

If Hager’s book was “factually incorrect” and little more than a “smear campaign” – one has to ask the PM what prompted Judith Collins to resign 17 days after the launch of “Dirty Politics” and all it revealed?

John Key’s track record of transparency with the public has left much to be desired and attacking journalists who dare speak the truth says more about the PM’s character than the targets of his unwarranted attacks.

Thus far, Jon Stephenson, Nicky Hager, and Glenn Greenwald have a better track record at telling the truth than Mr Key.

-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

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Every time Key behaves like this, whether it be with Nicky Hager, Jon Stephenson, or now Glenn Greenwald, he is abandoning his elevated position of a non-political Prime Minister and becoming just another politician in the eyes of the public.

Key will lose popularity.

National will lose support in the polls.

And National will lose on 20 September.

More importantly – is this the kind of sleazy government that Winston Peters wants to associate with after 20 September?  Because there is much, much more to come out.

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References

Radio NZ:  PM says Greenwald’s claims are wrong

NZ Herald: PM attacks journalist over SAS torture claims

NZ City: John Key trashes Nicky Hager’s book

Radio NZ: Prime Minister stands by minister and staff

Previous related blogposts

The slow disintegration of a government; 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5…

Other blogs

The Standard: Greenwald on the GCSB

The Paepae: John Key working the phones “at length”

The Daily Blog: Where does Key get off abusing a Pulitzer prize winning Journalist like Glenn Greenwald when he calls a far right hate speech blogger regularly?

The Daily Blog: Dear mainstream media – regarding Key’s promise to resign if GCSB exposed doing mass surveillance

Special mention

The Jackal: John Key Naked

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Letter to the Editor: When is privacy not privacy?

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old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879.

SIS

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When we break the law, the police come calling.

When National does it, they just change the law.

That’s how it’s done in New Zealand, circa 21st Century…

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FROM: "f.macskasy"
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE: Thu, 08 May 2014 11:32:27 +1200
TO: Listener  <letters@listener.co.nz>

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The Editor
The Listner


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John Key’s government passed legislation last year which
now legalises GCSB spying on New Zealanders, albeit with a
“warrant” and with Prime Ministerial “over-sight”.
Key says we now have legal protection to protect our
privacy.

Of course, that did not stop the GCSB from breaking the old
law, and spying on eightyeight New Zealanders. That’s
despite the old law being quite specific in it’s
prohibition on domestic spying;

Section 14 of the original Government Communications
Security Bureau Act 2003 was quite specific

“Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor
a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or
take any action for the purpose of intercepting the
communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation
or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a
permanent resident.”

Which made a mockery of John Key’s mis-leading assertion
on  9 April last year;

“In addition, the Act governing the GCSB is not fit for
purpose and probably never has been. It was not until this
review was undertaken that the extent of this inadequacy was
known…”

Law-breaking and lies – the hallmark of National’s
behaviour on this issue.

But the supreme irony here?

John Key has allowed the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders or to
receive data on New Zealanders gathered by overseas spy
agencies - thereby circumventing the amended law.

But health-service providers are not allowed to share
information with family members, where necessary, because of
“privacy concerns”.

Monty Python couldn’t have scripted this farce any better.

-Frank Macskasy
[name & phone number supplied]

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References

Radio NZ: Hear more of Ian Fletcher on Morning Report  (audio)

Dominion Post:   Spy boss denies mass surveillance

John Key.co.nz: PM releases report into GCSB compliance

Legislation.co.nz: Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003


 

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SIS GCSB John Key spying police_state surveillance

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part toru)

30 July 2013 2 comments

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Continued from: Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part rua)

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com march - 27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand

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NZ, Wellington, 27 July – The peaceful protest march had arrived at Parliament without incident, and people were in good spirits.

The way that democracy is under threat in New Zealand (see: Defence rates investigative journalists as threat), this protester had a point;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (41)

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The numbers swelled on Parliament’s grassy grounds;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (42)

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Protest organiser, Ariana, welcomed people and explained why the GCSB Bill (and it’s sister Bill, the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill) were a threat to our free, open, and democratic way of life in this country;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (43)

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A simple appeal from a New Zealander to the government; please don’t spy on me;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (44)

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Question – when did we arrive at a state in our affairs when we have to plead for privacy from our own government?

When you think about it, the image below is spot-on. It is more than a little pervy for the State to be spying on it’s citizens and reading all manner of intimate emails, and other electronic communications;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (45)

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Young people who wanted their message seen;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (56)

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The flags of Mana and The Greens, fluttering in the unseasonably warm July breeze;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (58)

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Mick’s telescope, set up to peer up at the Ninth Floor of the Beehive;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (59)

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Were there really on “500” people attending, as the media (except TVNZ) claimed? Look for yourself;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (54)

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Is that a  statue of Lenin holding the red flag?!

And another shot of the rally numbers ;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (57)

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That looks a tad more than “500” to me. My guesstimate – between 3,000 to 5,000 people.

Green Party co-Leader addressed the rally. He said that when National MPs sneer at you, remember that they are frightened of you.

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (46)

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With a wry grin, and semi-seriously, Russell  also suggested that everyone submit OIA requests to the GCSB asking how many had attended the rallies around the country. He said it might be fun to tie them up so they could not spy on us.

He finished of by repeating that “we should reject mass surveillance and reject this Bill“.

Billy McKee, from the Green Cross, then addressed the rally, vowing that he would lead an occupation to oppose this Bill;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (50)

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Organiser, Ariana, interviewed by a TV1 News team;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (53)

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Ploughshares Aotearoa Peace campaigner, Adrian Leason, who along with two other activists,  entered the Waihopai spy base and deflated one of the domes, addressed the rally;

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27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand (55)

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He encouraged concerned citizens everywhere to “disarm the plastic covers on the spybase” and put the facility out of operation. He said the Waihopai base spied on the United Nations, including diplomats and staff.

Adrian told the rally that Warner Bros had requested the GCSB to spy on Kim Dotcom. He said that worrying about the loss of our privacy was only “one piece of the bigger puzzle”.

His address was warmly received by the rally.

Civil liberties campaigner/Tech Liberty co-founder, Thomas Beagle,  followed;

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Thomas said that the GCSB bill was about “mass surveillance”  and expanding the power of the State,

“It’s about spying on everyone, no matter what they’ve done, no matter what they’re going to do. This sort of mass surveillance changes the balance of power in our society away from the people and towards the state.

I believe in the right to privacy, I believe in the right to sit in my house and call my friends on the phone without the Government listening.

I believe in freedom of expression and freedom of association, for people not being scared into silence because they are being watched by Government spies.”

[Blogger’s note: actual quote taken from msm.]

The next speaker was veteran peace and social justice campaigner, Valerie Morse;

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Valerie read out a long list of legislation that successive governments had passed over the last decade that had, in some way, taken away some aspect of our civil liberties;  increased the power of the State; or elevated the primacy of corporate power over our own rights.

She condemned the GCSB’s close links to American spy agencies, saying that we “do not need our every movement logged by the NSA“.

Valerie said that the greatest struggle was to protect our freedoms. She said,

“Enough, we will not take any more. The struggle goes on for a free society.”

It was an amazing turnout for Wellington, Valerie said; “we are winning!”

Following Valerie, CTU President, Helen Kelly addressed the rally;

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Helen said that this government was becoming a bully. She said, “Don’t buy into ‘nothing to fear so have nothing to hide. We all have things we want to hide and keep to ourselves“. That was called privacy, she said.

Helen reminded the rally that this government has been abusing its power by persecuting beneficiaries and has only recently tried to access a journalist’s records in the Peter Dunne case,

“Peter Dunne – who did not want his emails read!”

Following Helen was Rimutaka Labour MP, Chris Hipkins;

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Chris said that there was a fundamental principle that we all have a right to privacy. He criticised Ohariu MP, Peter Dunne as “wrong to sell his vote“.

Chris then announced the following policy statement,

“We will work to have it repealed!”

Chris’s policy pledge echoes that of Labour MP, David Cunliffe, who announced at an anti GCSB Bill  public meeting in Auckland on Friday 26 July,

“The Labour Party has a proud tradition of taking on evil and inequitous legislation whether it’s apartheid or nuclear weapons or other things of that nature. Our leader has committed to a thourough review of this legislation and based upon what’ve have heard tonight, I personally, and I’m sure my caucus colleagues, will be of the view that this legislation must not, will not, and cannot stand!”

See previous blogpost: David Cunliffe announces Labour Govt will repeal GCSB Bill!! **Updated**

This is another clear indication that Labour is committed to repealing this damnable piece of legislation, should it lead the next government.

We will hold them to that promise.

In which case, what does it profit National, and it’s smile and wave leader, to pass unpopular legislation, knowing that it will not survive a change of government?

In Kiwi parlance, the Nats are  on a hiding to nowhere.

Time to give it up, Mr Key.

Brief vid of Wellington street march

Source: Youtube – Chris Russell

Blogger’s Postscript

Ironically, it is Peter Dunne who will not release his email correspondence between himself and Fairfax journalist, Andrea Vance, insisting on his privacy – or “Parliamentary privilege”, as he calls it.

Dunne insists on maintaining his privacy (whilst voting away ours). When Inquiry head, David Henry, requested Parliamentary Service access to Andrea Vance’s internal office telephone records, he was indignant,

“They went far too far. It’s now clear he didn’t have the authority to do what he claimed to do. The fact that a journalist’s records were sought without her approval is a significant impingement on her rights and freedoms.”

I hope Parliament’s air-conditioning is working properly. The stench of hypocrisy must be over-powering.

Meanwhile, from South Korea, Dear Leader Key responded to Saturday’s nationwide street marches,

“I accept there are some that will always feel a bit nervous about privacy and their own rights, but I can give you the best assurance I can that we’re very careful and cautious about what we do as a state. But in the end we do have to protect the interests in New Zealanders.”

Source: NZ Herald – Protest marches against GCSB bill across NZ

The public though – or at least a considerable majority – do not trust Key as much as he would believe,

A 3News Reid Research poll released on Thursday night asked 1000 voters who they believed – 52 per cent said Dotcom, 34 per cent said John Key, and the rest didn’t know or didn’t care.

Source: MSN News – Kiwis don’t believe Key over Dotcom

If I were Key, I would not be so smug and arrogant as to think that we trust him to “protect the interests in New Zealanders”.

Spying on New Zealanders is not “protecting our interests”. More likely, it suggests how much he fears us.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 July 2013.

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More images

Facebook: Alastair Foster

Media References

MSN News: Kiwis don’t believe Key over Dotcom

Dominion Post: Thousands join rally against GSCB

NZ herald: Protest marches against GCSB bill across NZ

TV3: Protesters turn out to oppose GCSB bill

TVNZ: Thousands of GCSB Bill protesters hit the streets

Radio NZ: Protests in Auckland, Wellington against security bill

Newstalk ZB: Anti-GCSB feelings growing – Norman

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part rua)

30 July 2013 1 comment

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Continued from: Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part tahi)

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com march - 27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand

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NZ, Wellington, 27 July – Wellingtonians (and from further afield) met  downtown in Cuba Mall, to protest National’s planned GCSB Bill.

Placards ranged from professionally printed;

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– to the artistic and decorative;

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To a simple, single, word;

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Green Party co-leader, Russell Norman, walking in the midst of other marchers,

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This shy young lad, eleven years old, made his own protest placard from scratch, downloading and pasting images from the internet. This was his first protest march;

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A message that should strike anxiety the the fear of god into the hearts of politicians; losing votes when they piss people off;

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27-july-gcsb-bill-spying-peter-dunne-parliament-wellintgton-new-zealandKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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Who says that young people aren’t interested in politics or political issues any more?

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More young folk, with a very wise message to our elected representatives, Alex with his home-made placard;

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Alex and his hastily-crafted placard

Alex and his hastily-crafted placard

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At the intersection of Lambton Quay, Bowen St, and Whitmore St, one of the protest march organisers, Ariana (with loud-hailer), led an impromptu sit-down;

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Valerie, taking pics of the event;

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After about five or ten minutes, as the march was moving again to the gates of Parliament, this lone chap decided to yell out “retards” and other expletives at the protesters. His name is Eddie;

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Eddie

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I went up to Eddie and asked his why he called the protesters “retards”.

Eddie was upset that buses had stopped moving up Lambton Quay and he was worried that the chicken he had bought at the supermarket would develop salmonella. He said the protesters should be marching along the footpath and not the road. I asked Eddie how 3,000 to 5,000 people could fit onto a footpath.

He had no response.  He said the protest should have taken place when people weren’t at work. I suggested to him that a protest march of this size would be less of a nuisance to traffic on a Saturday afternoon than had been held during the week. I then asked him if he knew what the issues surrounding the GCSB Bill were, and that maybe it was important enough to warrant a temporary, minor inconvenience.

At first Eddie denied knowing anything about the issue. When asked again, he admitted knowing that the GCSB’s powers were to be expanded “to spy on us all”.

When I asked him if that was an important issue of public concern he muttered something and walked off.

I hope he enjoys his chicken.

Meanwhile, those with more pressing issues on their minds had reached the entrance to  Parliament – only to find that the main gate had been locked. Only two side-gates, which were barely wide enough to allow passage for one or two people at a time, were open.

Undeterred, those who were fit, young, and with enthusiastic energy went over the gates as well as around;

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Not quite the storming of the Bastille – but their hearts were in the right place;

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A note to the smart-arse news-editors on TV3 who quipped that protesters climbed over the main gate “even though there was another gate open right next to them” – mis-representing an event does not inspire confidence in your ability to be accurate and fair in your reporting.

Try getting 3,000-plus people through a small gap in any meaningful period of time. The entrance-way in question is to the right of the main gate in the image below;

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Very disappointing that TV3 chose to make such a cheap shot.

As people squeezed through the side entrances, others continued to climb the barrier. The symbolism was obvious;

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This young woman – with the sign “We are NZ!!! Not USA!” – climbed the gate and grinned with satisfaction;

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Once through (or over) the gates, New Zealand citizens made their way up the road through Parliament grounds;

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More people arrived. In this shot, you can clearly see the bottleneck at the front gates;

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Parliament’s grounds were once again in the possession of the People.

To be continued: Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part toru)

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part tahi)

30 July 2013 2 comments

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com  march - 27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand

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NZ, Wellington, 27 July – Between 3,000 to 5,000 people (not the “500” estimated by the Dominion Post, NZ Herald, and TV3) took part in a march in Wellington on a bright, warm Saturday afternoon.

People assembled in Cuba Mall near the Bucket fountain, and when we arrived there were already at least a thousand people in attendence.

This shot looks south; the crowd extends all the way to the Cuba Mall/Ghuznee Street intersection;

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Frank Macskasy   Frankly Speaking  blog  fmacskasy.wordpress.com   - 27 July - GCSB Bill - spying - Peter Dunne - Parliament - Wellintgton New Zealand

Cuba Mall – looking south

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The rest of the crowd, looking northward, from my same vantage point (on the Bucket Fountain’s wall);

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Cuba Mall was effectively packed with people who had joined the protest march. Only TV1 got the numbers right (see: Thousands of GCSB Bill protesters hit the streets)

There were people from all walks of life; all ages; all races; all demographics. Families like this one;

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L-R: Rebecca, Karl, Charley, and Alida

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I was reliably informed that Rebecca’s tongue-poking was directed at Dear Leader, and not at myself. But one cannot be 100% certain…

Many of the signs carried messages on both sides, like Mick’s;

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People’s messages were often witty and well thought out;

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Dillon and Tanya

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Other’s got straight to the point – stop stealing our human right to privacy;

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Paul and Bev from the  Ohariu electorate  both expressed their disgust at Peter Dunne’s behaviour. Neither would be voting for him again, they both said;

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Their signs had messages on both sides as well – typical ingenuity from New Zealander’s famed “no 8 fencing wire” can-do attitude;

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Dunne must be either brave or foolish to be alienating his voters in this fashion.

Shortly after we arrived, the march took off, headed to Parliament. By this time, numbers had swelled and more people would join as the march moved along Wellington’s streets;

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Politicians should take note – the protesters weren’t just radicals, activists, and suchlike – these were ordinary New Zealanders who rarely take to the streets.

What some placards lacked in political rhetoric and ideology, they more than made up in straight Kiwi talk;

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And some folk  have just had a gutsful of this increasingly autocratic government and want a chance to change things at the ballot box;

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Many of the placards were obviously home-made, by ordinary citizens. Not exactly the “rent a mob” that Key and other Tories have claimed in the past, whenever they dismiss protest movements;

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And some were downright creative in their style and message;

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Home-made or pre-printed, the messages were crystal clear; people do not want the GCSB spying on us;

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And some were pretty ‘earthy’ in their wording – but I think most fair minded folk can empathise with the passion behind the message;

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More creativity;

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Even  businesspeople  like  Helen and Chelfyn were out on the street to protest. They found a simple, but novel way to  spoof the threat of many eyes watching us,

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To be continued: Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part rua)

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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The “man ban”; animal testing; GCSB Bill; and compulsory miltary training

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The “man ban”…

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Labour’s hierarchy has  dumped the so-called “man ban” (hat-tip to right wing bloggers for mental short-hand term which is little more than  a  knee-jerk emotional response requiring no deep thinking).

As Labour leader David Shearer pointed out,

The distraction is turning our attention away from the issues that most New Zealanders are concerned about. They don’t want to know about what is happening in the Labour Party.

What they want to know is what we are doing on the issues that affect them. That’s power prices, home ownership and good jobs.”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Labour backs away from man-ban plan

Indeed.

Looking back at the last couple of days, this has become a plaything for right-wing bloggers and the Topic Of The Day for lazy journos who can’t be bothered spending half a day researching on issues such as  “ministerial  release progress reports” which are little more than propaganda puff-pieces for National.

As Andrew Geddis pointed on on The Pundit,

My first thought is that the coverage of this issue is pretty revealing of the crappy state of political journalism in NZ. The media have essentially taken the narrative spin of a couple of explicitly pro-National blogsites (complete with the manufactured slogan of “man ban”) and replicated it verbatim – after searching out a few disaffected Labour-connected voices to underpin it. There’s been no attempt to set the issue in context (I’ve yet to see any discussion about the general issue of the ongoing, static under-representation of women in NZ’s Parliament), no attempt to look at overseas precedent (it took me 2 minutes on google to discover that “all-women short lists” are par for the course in the UK) and no attempt to compare Labour’s gender-representation record with that of anyone else.”

Acknowledgement: The Pundit – Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors

This was not handled correctly from Day One.

When it first came to my attention, my own response was a head shake; groan of despair; and a face-palm. (see previous blogpost: Facepalm #1: Labour) I could immediatly guess  the consequences; the response from the Right; and the frenzied headlines in my minds’ eye.

I was not disappointed.

Cameron, David, et al, had their fun. (Which is ironic considering that ACT is a Rich White Man’s Club that shafted it’s one successful female MP, and National has only 25% female MPs – the worst of the five main multi-MP parties.)

The greatest irony here is that encouraging a 50/50 male/female ration of  party candidates is nothing new to New Zealand politics. The old Alliance Party had a strict policy encouraging gender, geographical, race, etc, spread over it’s Party List rankings.

There was no grand announcement on this policy.

We Just Did It.

As such it never made headlines and people simply accepted that gender equality was an issue of plain Kiwi fairness and not this nebulous concept of “PC gone mad” – whatever that might be.

This is where Labour mis-calculated. They should simply have proceeded with the policy and not bothered with any media release.

By making a Big Deal about it, they simply fed the lazy mainstream media looking for Shock! Horror! headlines,  and voracious right-wing blogs which are always on the look out to deflect attention away from National’s problems (and they are legion, believe me).

My suggestion to Labour – Just Do It anyway.

And screw Cameron Slater, David Farrar, et al. Those two National sycophants won’t be voting Labour anyway, any time soon.

After Labour achieves 50% women MPs, it will then be up to National to play “catch up” – and right wing bloggers and commentators to explain why the Party of  Aspiration can’t do better than 25% female representation.

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Animal testing…

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The Greens have announced an attempt to amend the Psychoactive Substances Bill in Parliament  to stop animal testing for party pills.

This heinous aspect to the Bill would permit the exploitation of  animals to test party drugs to determine safety for human consumption.

In a recent blogpost, the NZ Herald was taken to task for mis-representing the Green position on animal testing (see: NZ Herald mis-represents Green Party spokesperson on synthetic ‘highs’). The journo responsible for that mis-reporting – Kurt Bayer –  has never responded to queries from this blogger as to whether the Herald would publish a correction to the errors in the story.

Even right wing, pro-business ACT MP, John Banks, has stated his opposition to using animals to test party drugs (see: Greens leading bid to stop animal testing for party pills).

Let me be totally blunt on this issue;

  1. If adults are foolish enough to ingest these “party” drugs or smoke synthetic cannabis – that is their decision. Let the consequences fall on their own heads if, after all the publicity, they still decide to use this crap.
  2. I’m all for testing. Go for it.
  3. But I see no reason to use animals to test substances that have no practical benefits, and are simply “fun drugs”.  It is obscene that National is even considering allowing  harm to come to animals simply to test these nasty drugs, which are  for “recreational” purposes.
  4. It is an indictment of our society that Parliament could even consider such an abuse of animals.

I hope National sees sense and deletes that part of the Bill.

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GCSB Bill – Key, Shearer, Dunne, & Peters

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Key is desperate to pass both the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill and Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill – both of which extend the powers of the State to access our communications;  surveil New Zealanders; and store vast amounts of information on us.

Once upon a time, if the State wanted more powers for the Police or spy agencies, they had to justify it with the public and seek consent.

Now, in 2013AD, it is the public that has to defend it’s right to privacy and why the various arms of the State should keep out of our lives.

It is hugely ironic that ACT, right ring bloggers, and other commentators support these two odious pieces of legislation.

Right wing parties such  ACT  usually advocate vigorously for reducing State involvement in our lives,

To this end the ACT Party upholds the following principles:

  • that individuals are the rightful owners of their own lives and therefore have inherent rights and responsibilities; and

  • that the proper purpose of government is to protect such rights and not to assume such responsibilities.

Acknowledgement: ACT Principles

The latest news is that Winston Peters and Peter Dunne – both with an eye on public opinion and the growing unease caused by these two Bills – are reviewing their support.

Peter Dunne

Mr Dunne says the review panel is a good start, but remains unconvinced that the bill in its current form provides enough protections to individuals and their private information. He says he doesn’t want to go into too much detail about other changes under negotiation.

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – GCSB bill needs more changes – Dunne

Winston Peters

Mr Peters was not impressed with the changes Mr Key has agreed to by way of giving the oversight watchdog, the Inspector General of Security and Intelligence, a panel of two to act as a sounding board.

“The surveillance panel was right only if the law was right and the law is not right.

“This bill does not work.”

Acknowledgement:  NZ Herald –Spy bill hits roadblock as Peters lays into Key’s changes

Both men must be considering one simple reality; as the implications of these two Bills grows in the  public’s  consciousness, do they really want to be associated with a growing Surveillance State; loss of privacy; and Big Brother?

These two Bills may be fast becoming  National’s “shower heads” moment.

The questions that demand answers are;

  • Do Winston  Peters and Peter Dunne want to be dragged down by National’s agenda on this issue?
  • Do they want to be tarred with the blackened brush of Big Brother?
  • Who stands for the rights of citizens?
  • And are Labour and the Greens prepared to turn the tide back?

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And compulsory military training

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I want to say goodbye - gunman's last wish

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – I want to say goodbye – gunman’s last wish

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This story undermines notions expressed by  folk with simplistic views that “a spot of military training” is all that’s needed to “buck up the ideas” of alienated young men and women.

Giving military training and putting guns into the hands of angry young men who feel resentful against society, is not a panacea for our social problems.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 July 2013.

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