The toxic mental effects of being in power too long

President Barack Obama tells Jerry Seinfeld ‘world leaders’ who’ve been in power too long lose their judgement.

Interesting that he would say that, eh?

Seinfeld says, meaningfully, “Privilege is toxic.” Yep. I’ve had cause to think that in regard to certain unpickings in New Zealand politics, recently.

 

See the exchange in context in this video of Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: “Just Tell Him You’re The President” (Season 7, Episode 1) on YouTube.

A worthwhile primer on why & how government moves to undermine/ban encryption are so dangerous

Access Now’s Amy Stepanovich just delivered this useful overview of the important issues around the latest moves in The Crypto Wars.

And this article, by Mark Wilson at betanews.com re President Obama effectively backing backdoors, is instructive (if a disappointment).

Privacy and security killer: Obama supports backdoors to bypass encryption

“If technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key, there’s no door at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer, how do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot?” he wondered aloud, his almost rhetorical question playing neatly on two of America’s biggest fears. He suggested that security keys should be made available to third parties, saying “you cannot take an absolutist view” when it comes to balancing security and privacy. But Obama has a solution: backdoors.

Obama avoided talking directly about the Apple/FBI case, but it hung heavy in the air nonetheless. So what is his solution to the issue of encryption standing in the way of government being able to access whatever it wants? The out-going president’s answer to the problem is far from fleshed out, and far from being a solution that anyone in their right mind would find agreeable. Addressing the SXSW audience, he said:

What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement because if in fact you can’t crack that at all, government can’t get in, then everybody is walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket.

While Obama says that he backs the notion of strong systems of encryption, he said that for issues that were agreed to be important (by whom he did not make clear) it should be possible for the security key to be made available to “smallest number of people possible”. A backdoor by any other name.

He said:
There has to be some concession to the need to be able to get to that information somehow.

Dress it up any way you like, but Obama is suggesting that backdoors should be implemented.

Strange fixations. What Judith Collins told the Chisholm Inquiry – Part 2

Sharon Murdoch's cartoon from Judith Collins' first period of elevation to cabinet minister bears repeating. Read on and you'll see why.

Sharon Murdoch’s cartoon from Judith Collins’ first period of elevation to cabinet minister bears repeating. Read on and you’ll see why. (click to enlarge)

To recap:

We’re working our way through a tranche of witness transcripts and other evidence which was part of the proceedings of the Chisholm inquiry.

Previous posts on this topic have been:

 

 

 

 

More to come.


Mrs Collins in the witness box

Judith Collins’ time as a witness under examination at the Chisholm inquiry into ‘Allegations concerning the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office’ began at 10:25 am on 29 October 2014 and concluded at 6:01 pm that same day.

The redacted transcript makes interesting reading. You can download the whole 145 page document here (PDF 10 MB) along with her 19 page affidavit and other documents linked to her testimony at the foot of this previous post.

Reading Mrs Collins’ transcript, a few thoughts struck me … let’s look at some extracts.

“I woke up this morning…”

As noted in an earlier post, one of the ‘surprises’ Lester Chisholm was confronted with was a one-sided lack of records between Slater Jnr and Judith Collins, despite the fact they both reported that they “phoned each other often”.

From reading the discussions between Chisholm and Mrs Collins’s lawyer Francis Cooke, it seems clear –or at least likely– that Mrs Collins was asked if she could offer any explanation for this lacuna. (Lawyers love this word which simply means an ‘unfilled space, gap, or missing portion’ – in this case in the documented narrative.)

03 collins transcript page 8

“My friend told me there’s a way …”

I found Mrs Collins’ suggested ‘explanation’ on page 8 of her witness transcript interesting.
Continue reading →

The oily old gang is getting together again

Amusing that after this John Palino (a) thought he might stand for Auckland mayor again, (b) thought he would be able to brush off the unanswered questions about the last election, (c) is apparently working with the Dirty Politics gang of smear artists.

Rod Emmerson sees the funny side too.

Rod Emmerson sees the funny side too. Left to right: John Palino, Cameron Slater, Simon Lusk, Carrick Graham.

If there’s some Simon Lusk-esque ‘humiliation’ going on, so far it’s John Palino who is wearing it. Oh dear.

The escape of exnzpat, Part 32

Obligations and choice

 

It took Mia ten minutes to make her way to the three blue silos and coming up to them she looked for another pattern to take her onward to safety.  A stabbing pain had formed in her arms and chest, but she knew she could not yet rest, and so she continued to search for clues.  The piebald horse had given her time and she needed to use it.

Lifting heavy feet she came into the center of the three silos and saw the place abandoned.  The whole of it was stale with disuse.  A dirt road led off into the cornfields beyond and a small wooden hut with its door ajar and its roof partially collapsed, sat broken beside the largest of the three silos.  Behind the hut, a tractor, broken, tired, and long discarded with untidy crops of grass hiding its wheels sat with its four tires punctured and melting into the dirt:  the thing had been dead in the ground for years. Continue reading →

RIP David Bowie

I actually, literally staggered when I was told yesterday that David Bowie had died.
‘Have you heard about David Bowie?’ someone asked me.
‘What? About his new album?’ I replied … then what a crash.

Bowie was a hero to me, an artist whose influence was enormous in my life. I have written about him for print and here on this blog (see: ‘David Bowie’s influence on acceptance of gay ‘lifestyle’‘ and read the comments). I’m not gay, but Bowie’s art, his unmistakable voice and his plainly evident intellect and adventurism stretched my teenage consciousness. He made it ‘OK’, acceptable. Bowie’s visibility confronted anti-gay bigotry and his example stirred and broadened the social membrane – even in little ol’ Wellington New Zealand. As I disclosed in that earlier post, I worried about him. About his health.

Peter-with-Bowie-album-25

Me with Bowie’s album Aladdin Sane. (Like, when it was new.) Consciousness-expanding.

I know this will sound indulgent, and I apologise. Sorry, but I am partly the person I am because I identified with David Bowie’s personas, and in a way travelled with him as a fan on the musical journeys he took.

I’ve overcome my personal embarrassment to reproduce here a family snapshot of me aged about 14 or 15 in my mate Wayne’s backyard … listening to my precious David Bowie albums (loud) which was a statement in the early 70s, let me tell you. Of course, later, with Let’s Dance, he would become a mainstream superstar. But early on, nah, we saw ourselves and were seen as edgy and dubious outsiders, probably headed to Hell for liking him.

Farewell David Jones, who became Bowie, then Ziggy, then the Thin White Duke, then a legend. And thank you.

What an impact. What a life he lived.

– P

What Judith Collins told the Chisholm inquiry – part 1

Judith Collins after her swearing in as (reinstated) Police and Corrections Minsters, December 2015 Photo by Mark Mitchell NZ Herald.

Judith Collins after her swearing in as (reinstated) Police and Corrections Minsters, December 2015 Photo by Mark Mitchell NZ Herald.

Let’s be perfectly clear about it – Judith Collins was fighting for her political life at the Chisholm inquiry into  ‘Allegations regarding the Honourble Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office’.

That a serving Justice minister should be forced to resign (she says she offered, but let’s face it, that’s what John Key telephoned her to say. ‘Clear my name’ motivation notwithstanding, it seems pretty clear she was given the options: stand down or be stood down); then find herself under inquisition in front of a retired judge, with her integrity and good judgement being examined for consistency with written records; required to surrender her electronic devices for cloning, to supply her passwords for email and social media accounts (the contents of these were, at least, brokered through KPMG for ‘relevance’ to the inquiry’s terms of reference); then peppered with questions by a smart lawyer, Victoria Casey, trained to locate and explore inconsistencies in her ‘story’ – well, it must have been a nightmare.

As a former lawyer (she retains a practicing certificate, she declared to the inquiry in the third sentence of her affidavit) who had been involved with her local law society, she would be aware of the endless parade of evidence presented to disciplinary committees demonstrating that lawyers can and frequently do fail a ‘fit and proper person’ standard — in similar proportions to, say, real estate agents. If not worse.

Add to that the stress of not knowing what else her ‘family friend’/needy puppy/febrile blowhard Cameron Slater had blabbed to his mates and his paymasters (shudder); and, of course, the icy chill of the terrible thought (paraphrased): “OMG! What have I ever said (or emailed, or Facebook-messaged etc etc) to that clown that might come back to bite me on the bum now?”
Continue reading →

The scariest sentence in the English language (and ‘stolen data’)

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Yeah, that’s an oldie but a goodie. Let me use that as an introduction (well, I just did, thanks) to news revealed by the New Zealand Government.

It’s in a very nicely laid out booklet called ‘National Plan to Address Cybercrime’ (right); with a tagline: ‘Improving our ability to prevent, investigate and respond to cybercrime’; and a vision statement: ‘A secure, resilient and prosperous online New Zealand’ (getting the picture yet? It’s all thrillingly super-positive stuff.)

Now it is par for the course when discussing ‘computer crime’ to go to the extremes, child exploitation imagery, sabotage/hacking, money laundering for ‘criminal or terrorist groups’ and use those bogeymen as justifications for surveillance and ‘covert work’ … as well as privacy intrusions such as NZ Customs officers scooping the data off people’s phones at the border. (Oh, did you think I was making that up? Nope. See Tony Wall’s article at Stuff.co.nz: ‘Customs secretly copy data from cellphone’ – and archived here as PDF.)

I mean, who would speak up in defence of sick paedophiles, violent terrorists or dirty rat criminals? Gosh, hardly anyone. So, perhaps those extremes and that mindset (‘it’s all about protecting the kids’) informs this thinking out loud, from  pages 11-12: Continue reading →

Hager search warrant deemed “fundamentally unlawful”. What a relief!

Clifford_judgment-FLIt appears Judge Clifford was not amused nor mollified by the weasel words of the police and their post-facto legal enablers trying to portray their 10-hour full-spectrum fishing expedition at investigative journalist Nicky Hager’s house as somehow ‘OK’.

You can read Clifford’s High Court judgement in full (as I did last night) here:
Hager v Attorney General (PDF 500K)

That police failed in their ‘Duty of candour’ in this case doesn’t surprise me. I hope Judge Ida Malosi, who issued the “fundamentally unlawful” search warrant (which I posted here) gives the Manukau CIB crew a dressing down for (what’s the nicest way to say this?) improperly briefing her. I expect she will, at least, approach the police with more scepticism, and demand more detail, ask some hard questions, from now on. (After all, it’s not a good look for Judge Malosi, is it? Having a judicial document struck down like that.)

The evidence presented to Judge Clifford that police officers also bungled their duty while actually carrying out the intrusive search to apply proper controls and discipline – not just in their treatment of a claim of privilege – is, frankly, appalling.
Continue reading →

Emmerson on Judith Collins rejoining John Key’s Cabinet

Priceless. I love the detail on her tatoos: Oravida and Slater Jnr’s toxic brand. Wow.

Rod Emmerson is so good. (click to enlarge)

Rod Emmerson is so good. (click to enlarge)

‘Taking one for the team’ (The tl;dr version of Slater Jnr at the Chisholm inquiry)

Slater arrives at inquiry

This is a photo (right) of Cameron Slater arriving at the Wellington venue for one of the inquiries into his involvement in a conspiracy sparked by the revelations of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics.

Over several hours on 24 October 2014, Chisholm inquiry records show, Slater Jnr comprehensively walked back from claims and assertions he had made, and a narrative he’d spun through dozens of communications relating to family friend Judith Collins (then Minister of Justice) and what she had supposedly told him.

No doubt it was a time of great emotional and mental stress for Slater Jnr. It must have been awful to have all those lies come out for examination. That stress – and the feeling that he’d been abandoned or cut off by elements of the National Party and the John Key government establishment which had worked so closely with him  – may have been partially responsible for some bad judgements he made, and his efforts to get some kind of retribution against those he imagined were responsible for his exposure, and (in his mind) for Mrs Collins’ forced resignation.

It may also have been a factor in his ill-fated decision to take part in a ‘celebrity’ boxing match, I don’t know. But judging by this comment posted to Slater Jnr’s blog by his wife Juana Atkins, it was not a happy time:  Continue reading →

[Source documents] Judith Collins Lester Chisholm Inquiry evidence

As mentioned in The Judith Collins Chisholm inquiry: Who was actually on trial?, the following documents (except ‘Lester Chisholm Inquiry Report’) were released under an Official Information Act request.

They are the redacted witness transcripts and evidence presented to the inquiry, as well as Lester Chisholm’s final report.

Note: There is a total of 60 documents in the set (including cover sheets) which I will be releasing over a short period, as I publish articles referring to some of them. If you’re in a hurry for a particular document, email me. (See ‘About’ page for contact details).


What the Chisholm inquiry revealed about managing the media narrative

Carrick Graham and Cathy Odgers

Smile for the camera: Carrick Graham and Cathy Odgers photographed  in public together the day  after the Chisholm Inquiry report was released. Pic: Chris Gorman NZ Herald

Photographer Chris Gorman caught this image (above) of two of the Dirty PR conspirators putting on a brave face after the Chisholm inquiry report was published. NZ Herald journalist David Fisher referred to the report’s finding of an “extreme campaign against the former SFO boss Adam Feeley carried out by Slater and Odgers” in “a collective organised by Mr Graham, who was working for Mark Hotchin who was being investigated by Mr Feeley”.

At the heart of the allegations against Judith Collins which prompted the Chisholm inquiry is the idea that this “extreme campaign” was funded and carried out to influence and manipulate journalists and ‘the news media’ into serving a hidden agenda. That agenda, it’s been alleged, was to attack, demean and undermine the white collar crime bureau, the Serious Fraud Office (and, outside the terms of reference, also the Financial Markets Authority – see below) who were, as Fisher said, investigating Mark Hotchin.

Without falling too deeply down the rabbit hole, let’s examine those allegations, and see what light if any the Chisholm inquiry evidence sheds on it. Like many allegations, they may be true, partially true, or it could all be an urban legend. …
Continue reading →

Slater Jnr – If bullshit were music, he’d have a brass band

Earlier some genius said this:

What it’s useful to know about Cameron Slater is that he’s not an original thinker, or a leader, or ‘creative’ in anything but in an aping, derivative way.
…History, and his own testimony, shows us that Slater Jnr is a shallow puppet, a ball-boy, a caddie, someone who does other people’s bidding. He was used by David Farrar, he was used by Simon Lusk, he was used by Carrick Graham, he was used by Jason Ede and Phil de Joux.

By the look of things, you can add Rodney Hide to that list. Read Matt Nippert’s NZ Herald piece:

Hide as puppet-master? Looks like it. (click to read Matt Nippert’s article at www.nzherald.co.nz)

Hide as puppet-master? Looks like it. (click to read Matt Nippert’s article at www.nzherald.co.nz)

How it looks: More dirty PR, undisclosed associations and motivations behind not one but two smear campaigns (Xero & Crone). Nasty.
So – business as usual, at the Slater Jnr whatever-it-is-it-ain’t-journalism deceit factory.

If bullshit were music, he’d have a brass band.

– P

Archive of NZ Herald story

The Judith Collins Chisholm inquiry: Who was actually on trial?

Collins-pixelated-640w-A

Papakura National MP Judith Collins. Photo: Mark Mitchell, NZ Herald. Digital effects Peter Aranyi.

Reinstating Judith Collins to his cabinet this week, NZ Prime Minister John Key deployed a dogs-balls-obvious talking point that the Papakura MP had been “completely cleared” … “through an independent inquiry”. Here’s a clip:


Spot the talking point: “completely”. MP3 file

Watch a video of him saying it when he announced his cabinet reshuffle in NZ Herald political editor Audrey Young’s report: Judith Collins’ return to Cabinet: John Key had no choice but to reinstate ‘the Crusher’. (Note Audrey’s opinion: “…it would have been grossly unfair of the Prime Minister not to reinstate her.”)

Leave aside Audrey’s benign view for the moment. Mr Key’s remarks strike me as a case of spin and a slippery attempt to rewrite history. Maybe I’m being unfair. I think his (former? current? do we care?) texting/Threema buddy Cameron Slater trotted out the same sort of bald-statement-in-defiance-of-the-facts about another of my local National MPs who resigned in disgrace over an ethical lapse, Pansy Wong. Slater also probably thinks Maurice Williamson – who resigned from Cabinet (but not as an MP) over his improper interference in a police inquiry – has been unjustly treated too.

We’ve had a real run of bad luck with our National MPs out here in East Auckland, haven’t we? At least Jami-Lee Ross (National, Botany) seems like a nice bloke. I guess time will tell.
While we’re waiting, there are some interesting things we can discuss from evidence placed before the “independent inquiry” to which Mr Key referred… Continue reading →