How. Tragic. Is This?

I’m about halfway through a month long ban at The Standard but the obsessive dissing of a few resident stalkers continues without me.

A week ago I posted Norman versus Key, collection versus surveillance which was transcript and video link of a question time exchange in Parliament. It’s something I commonly do with the aim of making things I think might be of interest more easily findable and available.

It turns out that Glenn Greenwald found the post and included a link in a post of his at The Intercept.

By itself, common sense should prevent any of these governments from claiming that sweeping up, storing and analyzing much of the Internet — literally examining billions of communications activities every week of entire populations — is something other than “mass surveillance.” Yet this has now become the coordinated defense from the governments in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It’s nothing short of astonishing to watch them try to get away with this kind of propagnadistic sophistry. (In the wake of our reports with journalist Nicky Hager on GCSB, watch the leader of New Zealand’s Green Party interrogate the country’s flailing Prime Minister this week in Parliament about this completely artificial distinction.)

THE ORWELLIAN RE-BRANDING OF “MASS SURVEILLANCE” AS MERELY “BULK COLLECTION”

Whether I agree with the point Greenwald is making or not doesn’t matter, that he found a use for the post is good to see.

And his post has been reposted by various people half a dozen or more times. Including in part by at The Standard in Surveillance newspeak.

So this is how blogging works, information and opinion is built on links.

Despite being their promoted post yesterday their post didn’t attract much comment. And the first comments weren’t about the substance of the post at all.

Several numpties had a hissy about there being a link to a post here in the Standard post, and two even went to the trouble of providing alternative or anonymous links so people could avoid linking to here.

One Anonymous Bloke 1

Fuck! I just followed a link to Yawns.

  • Jim Nald 1.1

    “watch the leader of New Zealand’s Green Party interrogate the country’s flailing Prime Minister this week in Parliament about this completely artificial distinction”

    Instead of the current link being used (I assume it is the link to Norman asking the PM about mass surveillance in the House on 10 March 2015), it would be an idea to refer to the link on the Greens’ website (https://www.greens.org.nz/news/speeches/question-question-prime-minister-re-gcsb-surveillance) or directly to the link on the official website (http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/35909).

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

      *Hangs head in shame at being too lazy to find those myself*

      Thanks Jim.

      • Jim Nald 1.1.1.1

        All good, OAB.
        Thanks for the heads up. I would have just clicked on to the links after scanning through the piece but saw your comment which was the first. And I got curious and ran my mouse over each link.

        So now (and I take it that it was not OAB who posted this), whoever posted the piece or a moderator can consider replacing the link :-)

  • weka 1.2

    watch the leader of New Zealand’s Green Party interrogate the country’s flailing Prime Minister this week in Parliament about this completely artificial distinction.

    Yawns alternative link, http://www.donotlink.com/e45u

Such is their apparent animosity towards me. I have no idea why they are so obsessed.

But how pathetically petty is that? That’s the degree some Standardistas go to try and shut me out of anything there – except that it just draws attention to me and highlights their pettiness. And it makes the Standard appear to be a petty blog.

And their efforts are futile. The author and moderators at The Standard have ignored their pleas to change the link away from here. And weka’s do-not-link link provides another opportunity to link here, although stats show that far more clicked the direct link than her alternative (which shows in stats despite her belief that it won’t).

It’s kinda ironic that the thought police at The Standard ignored the Orwellian thrust of the post and instead chose to try to control thoughts and links in yet another petty attack.

In order to remove any possibility of creating martyrs, whose memories could be used as a rallying cause against the Party, the Thought Police gradually wear down the will of political prisoners in the Ministry of Love through torture, conversations, degradation, and finally, Room 101. The methods are designed to eventually make the prisoner genuinely accept Party ideology, and come to love Big Brother, and not merely confess. After being released back into society for a short while, they are re-arrested, charged with new offences, and executed. All people who knew them forget them through crimestop, and all records are destroyed and replaced with falsified records by the Ministry of Truth. Their bodies are disposed of via cremation.

One Anonymous Bloke and Weka are unlikely to get anywhere near Government control but they seem to see themselves as the Thought Police of The Standard, trying to eliminate all record of me or YourNZ.

That’s tragic. Especially for The Standard’s credibility as a serious forum for the left.

Listen: Hager revelations and elections

Nicky Hager has a history of launching anti-Government revelations that happen to coincide with elections. Last year he claimed the timing of “Dirty Politics” had nothing to do with the general election but that was as credible as much of his unbalanced assumptions’ based on cherry picked illegally obtained data.

Important messages were largely ignored by voters, or reacted against, amongst a fog of war words.

Undeterred Hager is driving another series of revelations, this time on the GCSB and spying, that happen to coincide with a by-election.

There’s other significant factors in the by-election – the ex-Sabin effect, the Winston effect, the “I’ve got ten bridges to sell you” effect, the large Little Labour capitulation effect, and the Osborne-possum-in-headlights effect.

So it’s going to be difficult to determine whether Hager manages this time to undermine the National led Government or if he again helps motivate voters to react against his aims.

Last week’s Listener editorial covered this well.

I Spy a By-Election

The Pavlovian response can work in reverse, as peace researcher Nicky Hager demonstrates, again seizing on an election campaign to prosecute his latest accusations against a government.

Voters’ clear message when he attempted this in last year’s general election was “Don’t try to railroad us”. His Dirty Politics allegations not only failed to dent the Government’s re-election chances, but may have backhandedly assisted them. Yet Hager has chosen the heightened atmosphere of the Northland by-election to drip-feed more leaked information purporting state malfeasance.

He has taken a different approach this time, drip feeding his claims week by week. Last election he tried one big hit with his book dump of selected data.

However interesting and potentially concerning Hager’s information may be, his timing puts his work at an inevitable discount. Northland voters could be forgiven for feeling resentful, as the by-election should be a platform for their concerns, not to further an activist’s minority agenda. Also galling is the way Hager uses the tactic of rationing information, ensuring he and American whistle-blower Edward Snowden can frame discussion on their terms, rather than allowing all the facts and implications to be judged. Hager seems as oblivious to these concerns as he is to the double-standard of his using illicitly obtained data to accuse others of illicit data collection.

Not just Hager. His fan club is so devoted to eliminating spying and eliminating the Key Government they either willingly or blindly ignore the double standards.

What galls most, however, is his apparent lack of perspective. This tranche of evidence that the Government Communications Security Bureau routinely hoovers up information about Pacific neighbours, allies and New Zealand citizens alike in a blanket take-all trawl of data has so far failed to “shock” voters as he predicted. This is because the subsequent sieving of that information is precisely what most citizens want and expect security services to do, in order to protect them not just from terrorists, but from crime, epidemic, biosecurity threats, child sex rings, drugs and all manner of menace.

Hager, in contrast, appears to start from the position that all or most surveillance is unnecessary and predominantly a stalking-horse for malign political purposes. In this he is hardly alone, as regular, well-attended protest meetings attest. However, Hager’s is still the minority view.

That minority thinks either that all they need to do is reveal “truth to power” to win over majority support, or that the general population are too dumb to see what they can see.

It may very well be that the GCSB exceeds its legal bounds. It would be astonishing if it did not at times test the spirit of its governing legislation. This needs close watching and robust accountability, and the public questioning Hager engenders is healthy and valuable.

Sort of valuable. By over playing his hand Hager could as easily be as counter-productive to the cause of holding to account as he is saviour of the surveilled.

However, an enduring majority of voters see a reasonable amount of state surveillance as necessary. “Reasonable” is a hard balance to strike where incursion into civil liberties is an unavoidable means to the end. It can be a Hobbesian choice. But this week’s news of a threat to contaminate baby formula – a terror-grade response to the Government’s continued use of 1080 poison – surely underlined the need for continued targeted surveillance. It is unquestionably the role of security intelligence to protect people from vengeful zealots who might conceivably act on their agendas and harm others, either physically or by economically ruinous acts. Such vigilance scarcely makes the GCSB the tool of self-interested political forces.

So far the debate over Hager’s latest revelation has eddied around the distinction between wholesale blind collection of data, and that which is sifted from among that information to be physically inspected. The Government says the mass trawling is a merely mechanical first step in a carefully targeted intelligence-gathering system. Critics like Hager say the data collection is illegal, full stop. It’s not a debate on which either side will agree to differ anytime soon.

Glen Greenwald joined in the war of words regarding the definition of mass collection – see The Orwellian Re-Branding of “Mass Surveillance” as Merely “Bulk Collection” – and Orwellian interpretations are as prevalent in his arguments as those with differing views.

If, as he again hints he will, Hager can produce evidence our spies or their political masters are misusing data, then the whole country will listen with concern. Prime Minister John Key’s dismissive and at times high-handed responses to Hager’s allegations may yet set him up for resignation, if it is proved our spies have exceeded their bounds.

Key doesn’t help his own cause with his at times “dismissive and at times high-handed responses”.

However, the mere fact of our spying on our Pacific neighbours is hardly proof of that, as most of their leaders have acknowledged. Our close relationship with these much poorer nations means it is our role and responsibility to watch out on their behalf for terrorists or criminals trying to establish a new beachhead.

That’s something Hager fails to recognise or acknowledge – spying on the Pacific is probably more for their benefit that something for them to be concerned about.

In so consistently failing to persuade most New Zealanders to his perspective, Hager may conclude most people are complacent about their civil rights. He might more usefully conclude that most are simply less complacent than he is about genuine threats to the security of our sphere.

He and a few anti-spying idealists – like the four Green co-leader candidates who want to scrap the GCSB and withdraw from Five-Eyes. See Green leadership contenders on spying.

Hager, Greens and a few others think we will be able to rename New Zealand to New Nirvana if we drop most of our spying and security measures.

The Greens didn’t stand a candidate in Northland. Part of the reasoning for this may have been to avoid splitting the anti-Government vote. Labour has thrown their candidate under a bus in a much clumsier attempt to do likewise.

It would be interesting to know if the Greens were aware in advance of the Hager by-election campaign.

If the Sabin stench wasn’t hovering over National in Northland and if National had chosen a strong candidate (there’s suspicions they selected Osborne on the basis he was least tainted by Sabin associations) then the Greens/Labour/Peters gambit alongside the latest Hager hit job might have been a revolution in vain, again.

But the Northland by-election result will be conflicted by the mess of National’s own making versus the combined anti-Key anti-spying informal coalition.

The voters of Northland are pawns in a much bigger game of political chess.

Greenwald speech (2) – surveillance versus interference in a country’s election

The second part of Glenn Greenwald’s speech at Kim Dotcom’s “The Moment of Truth” event on Monday night was on the alleged planning of mass surveillance.

The second really extraordinary thing, and this is genuinely really stunning to me, was on the very first day that I began doing interviews about the reporting that we were here to do, the Prime Minister, in the words of the New Zealand Herald, for the very first time admitted that his Government had in fact planned a programme of mass surveillance aimed at New Zealanders.

That appears to be an inaccurate representation of what Key said.

NZ Herald on Saturday in He’s Dotcom’s little henchman: PM attacks journalist’s spy claims

Greenwald said that New Zealand’s spying agencies had been conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders as part of the Five Eyes arrangement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Key said that was wrong. “There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB and there never has been. Mr Dotcom’s little henchman will be proven to be incorrect because he is incorrect.”

He believed Greenwald was jumping to conclusions based on partial information.

NZ Herald on Sunday in Spying claims force PM to release classified documents

Prime Minister John Key will declassify highly sensitive documents to prove the GCSB pulled the plug on plans to spy on New Zealanders.

Last night Key said he suspected that former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald’s mass surveillance claims were “part of a conversation” of a surveillance plan that was never formulated.

“I am prepared to declassify documents and release proof in the coming days,” said Key.

“There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB [Government Communications Security Bureau] and there never has been.

“Mr Dotcom’s little henchman will be proven to be incorrect because he is incorrect.”

Key told 3 News the mass surveillance plan was in response to cyber attacks targeting New Zealand businesses in 2011.

3 News on Saturday in Key hits back at Greenwald’s claims of mass surveillance

The Prime Minister has admitted for the first time that New Zealand spies did look into a form of mass surveillance on Kiwis, but never actually went through with it.

Mr Key has admitted for the first time that yes, New Zealand spies did look into what he calls a “mass protection” option that he concedes could have been seen as “mass surveillance” or “wholesale spying”, but that, and this is the important bit, he says it never actually went ahead.

Mr Key has revealed that after two major cyber-attacks on New Zealand companies, in late 2011 and early 2012, the GCSB stared to look at options with the help of partner agencies like the NSA.

But Mr Key says this idea never got past the business case stage because he deemed it too invasive.

Key said the Government investigated an option of a programme of mass surveillance rather than what Greenwald claims – “his Government had in fact planned a programme of mass surveillance”.

Back to Greenwald’s speech.

He admitted that for the very first time on Saturday after my arrival when he started to have suspicions about what it was I was going to expose.

I’m sure Key considered what Greenwald might try to expose and would have prepared responses long before Greenwald arrived here.

And the reason that’s so stunning to me is if you think about what has happened in this country over the last eighteen months there has been a very serious and sustained debate over surveillance policy, probably as much as if not more than just about any other country on the planet.

It began with the revelations that the Government had illegally spied upon the communications of a legal resident of New Zealand, Kim Dotcom, as well as several dozen other at least citizens and legal residents.

It then was followed by a very intense debate, one media outlet here called it one of the most polarised debates in decades, over a new Internet law that the Key Government insisted on enacting that would vest the Government with greater powers and this all took place within the context of the Snowden revelations, and the global debate about electronic surveillance and Internet freedom and individual privacy that those disclosures provoked.

Key claims he pulled the plug on the GCSB investigating mass surveillance months before the Snowden revelations and the global debate.

The law that was passed was claimed to clarify and tighten up loose legislation to prevent repeats of misinterpretation and potential illegal spying, and it increased oversight of New Zealand’s spy agencies. It’s highly debatable whether it gives the Government greater powers so Greenwald is taking one side of the argument.

And so as this country was immersed in this very serious and sustained debate about surveillance, a debate in which the Prime Minister himself actively participated.

He concealed from the citizenry all of that time the fact that by his very own admission, which is actually inaccurate, but even he admits that he concealed the fact that his own Government over many months was developing a programme of mass surveillance aimed at the citizens of this country.

Greenwald is fudging timing here. The “many months” were up to a year before the debate. 3 News reported:

But Mr Key says this idea never got past the business case stage because he deemed it too invasive.

This was before the Snowden leaks, and Mr Key says the fact he said no is why he has been able to be so resolute that there was no mass spying on Kiwis.

Key says it was an investigation that stopped well before the Snowden leaks and the debate in New Zealand. They weren’t happening concurrently as Greenwald implies.

Greenwald:

What possible justification is there for having concealed that for well over a year, until my arrival compelled him to finally admit it because he knew it was going to get exposed anyway?

I find that genuinely stunning.

It could be justified because by the time of the debate it was one option (presumably the GCSB investigates other options that it never implements) that had been ruled out by the Government.

During the debate Key kept claiming there was no mass surveillance and there would be no mass surveillance. If he said “we thought about it but decided against it” it would have made little or no difference to the outcome of the legislation. If anything it would have further inflamed the debate by raising an issue that was no longer in the frame.

Key presumably chose to talk about it now because he believed Greenwald would make claims about mass surveillance that needed to be addressed and countered.

Did Greenwald think he could come to New Zealand and make claims and accusations during the last week of an election campaign without them being challenged?

Fran O’Sullivan in Key wins – now let’s focus on real issues:

Key has been roundly attacked for declassifying documents to prove his point that the GCSB has not been involved in widespread surveillance of New Zealanders.

Bizarrely, it is somehow seen as perfectly all right for Dotcom and his associates to use stolen National Security Agency files to try to prove the Prime Minister a liar on how his Government has administered national security, but not for Key to declassify New Zealand’s own files to prove he isn’t a liar.

This is utter madness.

Key saw Dotcom coming and released the Cabinet document which backed his statements before the Internet Party visionary’s Moment of Truth fiasco.

He had lined up former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and self-styled adversarial journalist Glenn Greenwald to undermine Key’s credibility and use their combined influence to swing voters against National five days before the election.

But Dotcom’s associates failed to produce any clear evidence to show Key had lied when he said the GCSB had not indulged in mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

Nothing concrete was produced to prove New Zealanders have been illegally spied on.

Not only has nothing concrete been produced to back his claims, for a journalist Greenwald seems to have been making misleading assertions, possibly either deliberately or negligently misrepresenting what has happened.

Greenwald is openly anti-surveillance. He accepted an invitation to speak at a meeting organised by a political party that wants to take down the ruling Government. He has voluntarily participated in the democratic process of a country he has no connection with.

Greenwald seems to see a change of Government in New Zealand as a way of reducing surveillance in New Zealand so he is backing a party and a campaign that wants to achieve that.

What’s a bigger issue to Kiwis, surveillance or interference in a country’s democratic process?

Greenwald’s speech (1) – bickering about bickering

The opening four minutes of Glenn Greenwald’s speech at “The Moment of Truth” was little more than playing politics with John Key – bickering about bickering.

Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thanks to everybody for coming tonight and thank you so much as well to the Internet Party for organising such an impressive event and inviting me to speak.

Greenwald was introduced by MC and leader of the Internet Party, Laila Harre. Sitting on his left on the panel is organiser of the event and founder and funder of the Internet Party. Greenwald later claims it isn’t political.

I am extremely excited to be here and by be here I mean both this event and New Zealand generally.

I’ve only been here for a very short period of time, ninety six hours, but it has been very eventful.

There has been a lot that has happened in that short period of time but there are three episodes that I have found particularly extraordinary since I’ve been here that I want to highlight because I think it has some important meaning for what we’re here to talk about and for the upcoming election.

He thinks what he is saying is important “for the upcoming election”.

The first really extraordinary event is that you know is not all that common to arrive in a country, and within less than twenty four hours literally find oneself being publicly maligned and attacked by the nation’s head of state using the most adolescent epithets imaginable.

Minor misunderstanding – Queen Elizabeth is New Zealand’s head of state, represented in New Zealand by the Governor General.

It is an extraordinary event, in New Zealand at least, for a foreign journalist to make a very public anti-Government appearance at the behest of a political party founder and funder with an open aim of bringing down the current Prime Minister Government.

Has Greenwald done anything like this before? Did he expect no reaction or opposition being so political in a country he has little or no connection with in the last week of an election? or is he playing politics as much as the Prime Minister.

You know Saturday was my first full day here in New Zealand and I was welcomed by being called literally on no less than a dozen occasions a henchman, um, by the nation’s Prime Minister, and today earlier this morning he descended even a little bit further into the muck crowning me a loser, something that I don’t think I’ve been called since I was like fourteen years old so it brought back a lot of really good memories.

And the really amazing thing about it is I’ve done reporting over the last year and couple of months on the NSA and then on global surveillance as a result of the documents I was provided by my source, Edward Snowden, and the New Zealand Government certainly is not the first Government that has disliked the reporting that we’ve done.

And they are not even the first Government that has tried to distract attention away from the substance of the disclosures by trying to attack the journalist personally in order to discredit the journalism.

Greenwald seems to have trouble differentiating his journalism from his political activism.

But what is unique about New Zealand is that in every other country where that was done it wasn’t the Head of State that actually spouted those insults, um they get underlings or representatives or minions to do it because generally Heads of State are very concerned about appearing dignified and statesmanlike.

Spouting insults like ‘underlings’ and ‘minions’, and opening his speech with this counter attack on John Key was a distraction from the substance of his disclosures. Greenwald’s initial approach was playing politics and playing the man – during an election campaign – just like Key.

But I don’t know I guess in some warped way New Zealander’s should consider themselves blessed to be led by a person who has completely unburdened himself with those concerns, I mean he has no interest at all in dignity or statesmanlike behaviour whatsoever, and….

Greenwald has unburdened himself, seeming to have no interest so far in dignity or journalist-like behaviour.

Dotcom, seated right beside Greenwald, keeps reminding of his own undignified presence with frequent and distracting loud laughter.

You know I never thought that I would actually hear myself saying what I have said multiple times in interviews over the last four days which is, it’s a very weird thing to hear one saying, which is I’m not going to lower myself to the Prime Minister’s level by getting into the mud with him and name calling.

And I’ve tried really hard to adhere to that over the past four days and I’m going to try hard although I might not completely succeed but I will try hard to adhere to that tonight as well because there are a lot of really important substantive issues that we shouldn’t allow to be overwhelmed or distracted by what he’s hoping to be this kind of bickering match.

He has already failed. Up to now, in the first four minutes almost exactly of his speech, Greenwald has said nothing substantive, instead being distracted and lowering himself into the political bickering mud.

Video: “The Moment of Truth”  – approximately 28:30 to 32:30

D-Day versus Key-Day

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.

Glenn Greenwald in New Zealand

Media interviews with Glenn Greenwald on his New Zealand visit to speak at a public meeting arranged by Kim Dotcom plus related coverage.

The Nation: Interview Glenn Greenwald

United States journalist Glenn Greenwald says there are serious questions about whether the New Zealand Government was truthful about the GCSB law change.

“What I can tell you is that the statement that the GCSB made to New Zealand citizens last year — ‘We do not engage in mass surveillance of New Zealanders’ — is one that is not truthful.”

The Government engages in “extraordinary amounts of analysis of metadata – meaning who’s talking to whom for how long, where they are when they speak – on a massive, indiscriminate scale, not just internationally but of New Zealanders as well”.

He says New Zealand is an active member of the Five Eyes Alliance and spends an extraordinary amount of resources on electronic surveillance.

“…Every single thing that the NSA does that we have been reporting on over the last year and a couple of months involves New Zealand directly.”

The GCSB spies on a variety of countries, both hostile and allies. New Zealand spy agencies also have access to the XKeyscore spyware and contributes to it.

In his first television interview in New Zealand, he talks to Lisa Owen about the Edward Snowden leaks and how New Zealand agencies are involved in spying here and abroad.

Mr Greenwald is in New Zealand for Kim Dotcom’s “moment of truth” announcement on Monday night.

Lisa Owen Interviews National Party Leader John Key

We’ve only got a little bit of time left, so I just want to ask you one more time. Glenn Greenwald, the investigative journalist, is going to be on this show shortly. What do you think he’s got on New Zealand, and should you be worried?

Don’t know, but Kim Dotcom might not like surveillance agencies or intelligence agencies. Fair enough. He’s got his own reasons, and he can look himself in the mirror and ask himself why. But for other New Zealanders, there is a risk in New Zealand. It’s much smaller than other countries, but there is a risk. And as prime minister, I have to take the responsibility to do everything I can to protect New Zealanders.

NZ Herald: He’s Dotcom’s little henchman: PM attacks journalist’s spy claims

Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said that New Zealand’s spying agencies had been conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders as part of the Five Eyes arrangement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Key said that was wrong. “There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB and there never has been. Mr Dotcom’s little henchman will be proven to be incorrect because he is incorrect.”

He believed Greenwald was jumping to conclusions based on partial information. Greenwald has worked with Edward Snowden over material Mr Snowden obtained relating to the activities of spy agencies worldwide.

NZ Q&A Video: The GCSB engages in mass surveillance – Glenn Greenwald (0:46)

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald says the GCSB engages in mass surveillance

NZ Q&A: Key “rejected mass surveillance plan”

John Key: GCSB looked into a mass surveillance plan but he rejected it

National Party leader John Key told TV1’s Q+A programme that the GCSB looked into a plan for mass surveillance after two companies were subjected to a major cyber-attack – but he rejected it.

“ What ended up actually happening though was in about September of 2012 obviously there was the shake-up of GCSB, I brought in Rebecca Kitteridge, I started saying to the agency look, firstly your law needs to change, secondly your institution needs to strengthen, and thirdly I’m a little uncomfortable with where you’re sorting to go. I think you’re actually arguing this far too broadly. Even though a lot of New Zealanders might like it, because it’s really a Norton anti-virus at a very high level.”

Mr Key said he would produce proof that New Zealanders are not subject to mass surveillance, as claimed by Journalist Glenn Greenwald.

“ This is the point around the politics of all this. He’s had these documents for well over a year or so, so he’s miraculously turning up 5 days before, 6 days before an election to try and bamboozle people, and try and make all of these claims which don’t stack up. But he’s only seen one bit you see, he’s hacked in, he’s seen all of this information, he said aha gotcha, and of course what he doesn’t realise is none of that ever happened. So I’ll be able to produce the document that says here’s rescinding the asking of the business case, here’s the document that actually shows what’s taken place.

Q&A Video: Government considered mass surveillance but ruled it out – John Key (9:51)

Metro: Steve Braunias’ Campaign Diary: Day 9

DAY NINE: IN WHICH GLENN GREENWALD RECEIVES VISITORS AT THE SAD AND DEPRESSING DOTCOM MANSION – AND THE “LITTLE HENCHMAN” CALLS THE PRIME MINISTER A DIRTY LIAR

Greenwald acknowledges he’s not neutral and is politically motivated

Glenn Greenwald, in an interesting interview with Steve Braunias, acknowledges that he is not neutral regarding mass surveillance and he sides with political parties with similar views.

Different journalists have different views on what the proper role a journalist is. 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.

But was it really a good call to accept his invitation? Doesn’t it compromise your independence?

Oh, look. Politicians, when faced with disclosures that are threatening to their political power, attack the messenger. This is just a millennia-old tactic to distract attention away from the revelations.

The interview was conducted at Kim Dotcom’s residence in Helensville. Greenwald has been brought to New Zealand by Dotcom.

On whether he has sufficient information to make his claims:

He says he has documents that you don’t have.

I have all of the documents that my source has furnished me. I don’t have every single document that exists in the NSA archives.

Well, let’s call these documents cards. Consider this: Key is going to play a card you have not seen, and it will trump you.

I’m not here to play a game. I’m here to do journalism and to have the truth be disclosed to the public so they can make informed choices about the politicians they want in power. I’m here to report on what the documents I have reveal, as honestly as I can.

But Key says your documents are incomplete.

Well – I mean – you know – there’s always theoretically the possibility there’s some things you’re not aware of that exist. But my documents are very clear. And it’s very hard to imagine there being documents which negate these documents.

Acknowledging the timing of his visit is deliberately coinciding with the election for political impact:

Why are you here, at Dotcom’s house? You must have carefully considered this. Why didn’t you just work with local journalists, as I think you have done in other countries?

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.

The whole interview is worth reading:

Source – Metro: Steve Braunias’ Campaign Diary: Day 9

DAY NINE: IN WHICH GLENN GREENWALD RECEIVES VISITORS AT THE SAD AND DEPRESSING DOTCOM MANSION – AND THE “LITTLE HENCHMAN” CALLS THE PRIME MINISTER A DIRTY LIAR