Tonight Kim Dotcom will have his big time in his own spotlight, an event he calls “The Moment of Truth”. He is trying to place himself on the same pedestal as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – they have one thing in common, they are all being sought by countries for extradition and prosecution, but beyond that Dotcom is an odd associate.
John Key has created a climate of doubt that it will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so media will not just be broadcasting the supposed revelations unchallenged, they will be looking for Key’s response. That was a smart play by Key who has had months to prepare for this.
Dotcom may have sidelined himself by bringing Glenn Grenwald to New Zealand to headline his show with supposed revelations that our GCSB has been undertaking mass surveillance on us.
Greenwald is usually labeled a journalist – and his Pulitzer prize is often mentioned – but he is also a side taking political activist. In his own words in a recent interview for Metro:
I’ve been very clear that I’m not neutral on the question of mass surveillance. It’s dangerous and I oppose it. I’m supportive of political parties around the world that have made it an important part of their platform to work against it, whether it be the Green Party in Europe or the Green Party here, or the Internet Party, or the Techno Pirate party in Sweden.
He has deliberately chosen to reveal what he claims during our election for “maximum impact”.
I think it’s entirely legitimate for a journalist to think about how to maximise public awareness of the reporting that you’re doing. And I knew that by physically travelling here, at this time, when the citizenry is most engaged politically, that would present an excellent opportunity to bring as much attention as possible to these matters.
That sounds more like political activism, and interference in a country’s democratic process.
Key has upped the ante prior to the show, putting his political credibility and probably his political future on the line. Andrea Vance reports at Stuff:
Greenwald says the Government hasn’t been truthful about the GCSB legislation, which passed into law in August 2013.
Key insists Greenwald is “absolutely wrong”.
“He said the GCSB is undertaking mass surveillance against New Zealanders. They are not. There is no ambiguity, no middle ground. I’m right, he’s wrong.”
He says he has documents, including a Cabinet paper, to back his claims. But he won’t release them until Greenwald reveals what he has. And he accused the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist of playing politics, by staging a “sound and light show” with Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom, just days before the election.
Greenwald will join Dotcom at a “Moment of Truth” event tonight in Auckland, where he is set to detail his claims about the GCSB.
Key claims the Snowden documents tell only half the story – that Cabinet signed off proposals for the GCSB to investigate “widespread cyber protection” in early 2012 after two “significant” cyber attacks on Kiwi companies.
But he says that after a year he stopped the work as an internal review unearthed a raft of problems at the agency.
Despite Key’s counter attack Greenwald remains staunch that what he doesn’t know won’t affect the impact of his accusations. He is backing is part of ‘the truth’ being enough truth.
Despite no other world leaders disputing Greenwald’s previous disclosures about other countries in the Five Eyes alliance, Key said: “He’s absolutely wrong . . . he’s releasing hacked information which is presenting a picture which is completely incomplete . . . what I can say to New Zealanders is do not believe them.”
Key looks to be well prepared. It’s not known yet how well prepared Greenwald is to have his allegations strongly challenged. He may have come here thinking New Zealand would be an easy hit after his efforts with the USA, UK, Canada and Australia.
We will have to see what Greenwald produces tonight, and then what Key counters with. Waiting for Key’s response will diffuse the impact of the show tonight.
Dotcom is also going to try and prove Key wrong, but his cases have been overshadowed by his big-noting with international anti-surveillance activists. Whether Key knew Dotcom before he has claimed, just prior to the Dotcom raid, seems relatively trivial.
Dotcom also wants to prove he was granted residency in New Zealand to make it easier for the US to extradite him supposedly at the request of Hollywood.
John Armstrong says that Dotcom’s credibility is also on the line in Dotcom’s last chance to shine.
It is delivery time for Kim Dotcom. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. He must deliver the irrefutable evidence that he has repeatedly promised to show that the Prime Minister has not told the truth.
Dotcom’s “moment of truth” must be a moment of proof. He must prove that the Prime Minister has not been straight with the public, firstly regarding exactly when he became aware of the Megaupload mogul and, secondly, that the intelligence agencies for which John Key has ministerial responsibility have conducted mass surveillance.
There can be no room for doubt. There can be no reliance on the circumstantial. There can be no shifting of goalposts by saying the fuss is all really about New Zealand spying on other countries.
If tonight exposes Dotcom as nothing more than a big-noting charlatan who has attempted to hijack the electoral system, then the public backlash could be withering.
Dishing the dirt on Key in the last week of the campaign may have seemed a clever move when the idea was first mooted within internet-Mana. It may yet be the the final humiliation for the parties of the left in an election campaign that has been turning into a disaster for them.
Key will also be prepared for this.
In founding and financing a political party Dotcom has a stated aim of bringing down Key and the National Government. This already looks like having backfired, with National looking reasonably strong and the Internet-Mana Party failing to attract substantial support.
It’s possible Dotcom will land a big hit on Key tonight, but it could as easily benefit Key and National more than it hurts them, especially if Dotcom’s fireworks are a fizzer.
This campaign circus will make it very difficult for an already failing Labour and other parties to get any worthwhile attention in the final days leading up to the election.
Some on the left are hoping Dotcom will rescue a desperate situation for them. They are betting the election on Greenwald’s cards and have already shown they are prepared to take Glenn’s gospel as the whole truth and the only truth. They are already convinced Key is a liar so will disregard anything he says as usual.
The election that has been taken over by international political activists and a German trying desperately to stay in New Zealand to avoid prosecution in the US.
But voters across the spectrum get to make the final judgement on Saturday. The final polls over the next couple of days may be less able than usual to predict what might happen, they will not reflect what comes out of tonight’s “moment of truth” and the ensuing counter truths and arguments.
Dotcom’s big day has arrived. Key looks confident and well prepared.
We will never get the full truth from either side, but the country will judge Dotcom and Greenwald (most Kiwis won’t have heard of him) versus one of New Zealand’s most popular Prime Ministers ever.
Today is D-Day. Saturday is Key-Day, one way or another.