back to article Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign

Edward Snowden and Kim Dotcom have joined hands and waded into New Zealand politics ahead of the nation's forthcoming election, by alleging prime minister John Key has told fibs about his government's involvement with the NSA's nasties. Snowden has released a new missive in which he claims that the many tools with which he …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bugbear

    It's "denied" not "refuted"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course they haven't conducted mass surveillance of their people...

    ...they've subcontracted the job to the USA.

    1. Mayhem

      Re: Of course they haven't conducted mass surveillance of their people...

      Yes, I noticed Key being extremely specific about the GCSB never conducting any surveillance, same script as for Cameron and Obama when they were asked about the reciprocal nature of US-UK data capture.

      I expect NZ is spied upon by the ASD, and we return the favour. Makes for perfect deniability.

      As for the Southern Cross bugging - given the nature of what we've seen of atlantic cable taps, I wouldn't put it past the NSA to have already tapped the Hawaii end. I expect they want the NZ end for error correction on the bugging mechanisms.

      Heck, I still remember being in a call centre the day that some muppet unplugged half the fibres in Takapuna by mistake on a Saturday afternoon in 2005 and broke most internet connectivity for NZ for 8-9 hours while they respliced them all. There are a lot of substantial service degradations that don't make it into the headlines that would have been perfect opportunities to install "upgrades"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Of course they haven't conducted mass surveillance of their people...

        Hmmm, and the worst I've done is cause my single-phase welder to stick the rod, throw the fuses and start up the generators at the ANZCAN (offshore cable) terminal.

        The site supervisor wasn't too impressed.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There goes Greenwald's credibility - associating with a convicted fraudster.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Go

      Re: AC

      "There goes Greenwald's credibility - associating with a convicted fraudster." Greenwald is all about the money and Kit Dotcom has plenty of ill-gotten funds. Add in Snowden and it must have been a hurricane of hypocrisy, probably only matched by one of Putin's announcements on the Ukraine.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is that the majority of people don't care about mass surveillance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yeah, I was reading the majority of people's emails too

      and came to the same conclusion

  5. Muscleguy Silver badge

    The point is not so much if Internet-Mana get into the parliament* but what effect the revelations and accusations will have on the National Party's vote. Dotcom is not trying to become NZ prime minister, he is trying to bring down Key's govt in revenge and there's more than one way to do that.

    *Mana are likely to get one Maori seat. Under MMP type elections getting an electoral seat despite not getting above the 5% party vote boosts your effective % and you get a couple of list MPs elected. So that they are polling at only 3.5% is only half the story of their electoral chances.

    1. OzBob

      Disagree

      Kelvin Davis (Labour candidate) is only 1% behind Mana Party's Hone Harawera in the polls for TTT. It's still too close to call. Plus most polls have National (Tory) governing with only 1 support party anyway.

  6. Lars Silver badge
    Go

    I hope

    People in the EU will listen to the video and especially listen to the trade agreement part too.

  7. theblackhand

    Jargon buster

    This seems like a misunderstanding - to help people understand what is being said:

    "GCSB do not conduct mass surveillance of New Zealanders" - GCSB does not conduct mass surveillance of NZ citizens as we have outsourced it to the NSA.

    "We do not monitor undersea cables" - the NSA monitor the cables at a land-based station due to the ease of access

  8. OzBob

    Show me the logistics

    So NZ has an "Area 5.1", where the NSA is operating. Please, give me a break. Somehow they are drawing power, installing hardware, filling the coffee machines on a site big enough to slurp massive amounts of data and not being discovered. Wake me up when someone geo-tags the location.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Show me the logistics

      There could be any number of places Bob. Commercial operators hosting a large number of servers & networking gear, let's see we have

      - Revera have a 6,000 server installation in Auckland. And it's called 'Homeland' which is quite funny.

      - IBM has a large data centre in South Auckland, set up in 2011. Anchor tenant is who? IBM wouldn't just speculate...

      - Datacom have a huge site in Auckland which they'd lease to basically anyone.

      - Unisys, Gen-i, Vorbis, Vodafone/Telstra have colo data centres also.

      All of the above are highly secure, segregated, tier 3 / 3+ data centres. And you don't need all the servers to be in Auckland - just the 'front end' processing work & offload the rest to Hawaii etc.

      - AT&T has a POP

      - American telcos have a dedicated and sizeable slice of Southern Cross.

      So it is all possible. Yet, while I'm sure that the NSA has a presence in NZ, I am unconvinced that it's doing much slurping here - why would it need to? Error correction would be all that was needed if it's tapped in @ Hawaii.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rather than spiked, the Internet mana party support has tanked after what proved to be a complete fizzer. However the market for tin-foil hats HAS spiked. Apparently Greenwald bought a container load on special.

    Claims that he flew "40 hours to overturn a government are frivolous" is perhaps one of his stupidest comments ever, what did he think he was doing supporting a dirty politics campaign by a convicted fraudster who is trying to buy influence to avoid extradition ? Being a disinterested "good citizen" ?

    1. veti Silver badge

      I don't get why he'd fly for 40 hours. You can get to Auckland from London in less than 30. From Rio, where Greenwald lives, my googling suggests he should be able to do it in well under 20 hours.

      Unless he's counting the time he expects to spend flying back.

      But "what did he think he was doing" - I imagine he's doing something he believes in (telling what he knows, or thinks he knows), and Kim Dotcom is paying his expenses to do it. That looks to me like the Path of Least Tinfoil to an explanation.

      As for the Internet Mana party tanking - well, it started from basically nothing, so it's hard to say it's gone far downhill. What the whole episode tells us is that Dotcom, for all his genius for publicity, doesn't really know much about politics. Yet. He's practising, and I'm sure he'll learn.

      Personally, I think both Dotcom and Colin Craig are deliberately trolling us. They're too entertaining to be genuine.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its only a fizzer if you are a national party flunky, or a member of the juvenile media.

  10. Al Black

    False claims: NZ is on the outer with its former Allies.

    The "exclude NZ" button was designed in, and was required at a time when NZ was part of ANZUS. When it joined the Non-aligned group of Countries by reneging the ANZUS treaty, it was excluded from the intelligence sharing that came with the American Alliance. Snowden knows this, but chooses to interfere in what he perceives to be a right wing government (it's not: Key is somewhat left of centre).

    Kim Dotcom is an Austin Powers fan who couldn't make up his mind which Mike Myers character to emulate: as a result he got stuck halfway between Fat Bastard and Dr Evil.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: False claims: NZ is on the outer with its former Allies.

      In so far as NZ has "reneged" on ANZUS, it did so in 1985. Are you really claiming this software was designed before then? And you are aware, surely, that the "Non-Aligned Movement" is an actual thing, with actual members, and NZ isn't, and never has been, one?

      As for Key being left of centre, all that really tells us is something about where you (hilariously arbitrarily) consider the "centre" to be.

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: False claims: NZ is on the outer with its former Allies.

        > Are you really claiming this software was designed before then?

        I don't see where he claimed anything about when the software was written. But NZ wasn't 'out' just in the mid-80s, that lasted until 2010.

        >the "Non-Aligned Movement" is an actual thing, with actual members, and NZ isn't, and never has been, one?

        He didn't say the "Non-Aligned Movement", he said the "non-aligned group".

        > As for Key being left of centre, all that really tells us is something about where you (hilariously arbitrarily) consider the "centre" to be.

        Key is left of centre when compared to most other countries. In some cases in the past the Labour party has been to the right of the National party. That's what happens when almost everyone is trying to be centrist.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: False claims: NZ is on the outer with its former Allies.

          >I don't see where he claimed anything about when the software was written.

          Well, then you need to reread the previous post, because it clearly says that the function was "designed in, and required at a time when NZ was part of ANZUS", i.e. before 1985, i.e. 30 years ago.

          >He didn't say the "Non-Aligned Movement", he said the "non-aligned group".

          Actually the post said "the Non-aligned group of Countries". Given the erratic capitalisation, I picked on the only identifiable "group" that might plausibly meet that designation. To claim that you become a member of one "group" simply by leaving another, is to be speaking set theory rather than English.

          >Key is left of centre when compared to most other countries.

          In the first place, [citation needed]. In the second place, Key is not a country. In the third place, what on earth does it mean to be "left or right" of a country? In the fourth place... oh, the hell with this. Please define your terms more carefully if you want to make claims like this.

        2. N13L5

          Re: False claims: NZ is on the outer with its former Allies.

          "Key is left of centre when compared to most other countries... etc"

          Hope you realize that all this left, right, center jousting is just part of a puppet theater to keep you sitting on your sofa in a daze.

          If you throw out your TV and spend all your time gardening instead, you'll have no less impact on the world, probably more, as at least the bees and the birds will be pleased.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    In reality, in the public perception it doesn't really matter what the spies are actually up to...

    Because there have been so many weasel words, half-truths, untruths, we-can-tell-you-but-we'd-have-to-kill-you, anyone-in-favor-of-snowden-is-enabling-terrorists, red herrings, straw men, pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain and other various misdirection used that nobody is going to believe the pols are not mass surveilling New Zealand. And the pols don't dare force the intelligence communities to actually come clean about what is tapped, where its tapped, what info is gathered from the taps and how that info is used and retained.

    Right now you can probably get away with saying that "person X was killed by the government because he knew too much about mass surveillance of the public".

  12. Richard Plinston

    > Greenwald also denied that he was being paid for his trip to New Zealand.

    Greenwald stated on TV that his usual fee of $25,000 was being donated to a charity. So Kim Dotcom is paying the fee and also, presumably, travel and accommodation.

    > "The idea that I got on a plane and flew 40 hours ... because I developed a desire to influence the outcome of the election is frivolous,"

    His desire is irrelevant. Kim Dotcom has stated he wants to influence the outcome of the election and it is Kim that is paying for all this. Greenwald is a part of this. Actually Greenwald is probably doing this mainly so he sells more books.

    > the results of mass surveillance in New Zealand

    "the results of mass surveillance _of_ New Zealand" - corrected that for you.

    It may well be that traffic originating in New Zealand is monitored and is available to NSA operatives. But that is traffic that is between NZ and other countries and can be collected in those other countries. If I don't want my searches being seen by the NSA then I should not use Google, or Bing, or Yahoo.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What tosh

    Al Black, your comment is tosh and double tosh.

    NZ was never excluded from the 5 Eyes, and was always sending and receiving info during the ANZUS troubles. Any perception of being out in the cold is a false claim indeed. Much was made of the dire consequences of our anti-nuclear stance but in reality the information gathered through New Zealand's facilities was too important for the US. Relations at the agency level have always been warm.

    John Key has been frugal with the truth on so many things, and his memory of events is laughable. He has 'forgotten' so much as to be without credibility. Dotcom is obviously worried he may have to face the law of the USA, and while I don't care whether he is found guilty or not, I do care if our PM has been telling us porkies about any matter, but especially about surveillance and the TPPA.

    1. Brett Weaver
      Black Helicopters

      Re: What tosh

      Your comments strike me as being from someone who was not an adult in 1984 when the separation from ANZUS started. I certainly had occasional exposure to US diplomats in Wellington and I can promise you that things were decidedly frosty for a long while.

      Aussie playing the "good" vs the "naughty" NZ didn't help either. The French would never have bombed a ship in our harbour without tacit permission from the USA.

      If Key has been sparing with the truth, that's the nature of politics.. He is more a chairman of the board than a schemer so what you see is what you get.. I wouldn't care if Labour got in with the Greens and NZ First ... Except I think it would be expensive tax wise.

      I'll be really glad when the election is over and we can get back to things that matter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What tosh

        Thanks Brett - sadly, I was an adult in '84 which makes me old. A few points...

        - Although the GCSB would never confirm this, Mafart & Prieur or exploding ship fame were caught due to SIGINT. 5 Eyes SIGINT quietly given to the NZ Police.

        - Whereas MFAT did feel the 'freeze' in relationships, over at SIS and GCSB things hummed along just nicely thanks very much.

        - Whereas the Lange government was well distrusted by the US govt, GCSB and SIS (and DDIS) were seen as (and staffed by) old boys. Personal relationships ran pretty deep there so things got done.

        I'll stay anon though. Would love to say more but am contractually bound etc.

        Like yourself, I'll be glad when the election is done and we can all get on with moving forward (whatever direction that takes).

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Brett Waever Re: What tosh

        ".....The French would never have bombed a ship in our harbour without tacit permission from the USA....." Have you ever actually met a Fwench diplomat or officer in their military from the 'Eighties? To find anyone less likely to toe Uncle Sam's preferred line you'd probably have to have gone to Havana!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened to NZ's National Newspaper?

    I was slightly surprised by the reaction of the NZ Herald. Blatantly demonstrating that they have their lips stitched to PM Key's arse. This was a paper that used to be quite bold in challenging the official version - look at the Crewe murders, and the Erebus crash.

    Why has it changed direction? Where is the impartiality and investigative journalism on behalf of the public? Oh sorry... that's old journalistic principles, ones that have been replaced with "say what the masters want us to say - we daren't risk the consequences of not doing so.".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What happened to NZ's National Newspaper?

      The bias in the media could be cut with a knife, if you could penetrate it.

  15. Edward Hammond

    And the New Zealand Herald says...

    I was slightly surprised by the reaction of the NZ Herald. Blatantly demonstrating that they have their lips stitched to PM Key's arse. This was a paper that used to be quite bold in challenging the official version - look at the Crewe murders, and the Erebus crash.

    Why has it changed direction? Where is the impartiality and investigative journalism on behalf of the public? Oh sorry... that's old journalistic principles, ones that have been replaced with "say what the masters want us to say - we daren't risk the consequences of not doing so.".

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