Click to read how the police fired a shot across the news media’s bows over the teapot tapes.
For reference, and because it’s interesting, here’s the audio (below) of Prime Minister John Key’s appearance on TV3’s Firstline justifying making a complaint to the Police about the actions of journalists — he accused the Herald on Sunday of using ‘News of The World’ tactics – which saw search warrants executed on various arms of the NZ media (NZ Herald, Radio NZ, Mediaworks) two weeks before the 2011 election.
As noted earlier, other newsrooms (including the one I was working in at the time) received extraordinary ‘chilling’ warnings from police — that any reporting of the contents of the tape would be “an offence against the Crimes Act s216B”.
John Key explains why he laid a complaint with the police over the teapot tape – Firstline 15 Nov 2011 MP3 file
Click to watch at 3News.co.nz
Listening to the interview again this morning, I was struck by how Rachel Smalley (who said she was ‘privy’ to the contents of the tape) gave Mr Key a chance to address some of the ‘political’ topics thathe had been recorded discussing with John Banks (e.g. NZ First’s supporters ‘dying out’, replacing then ACT leader Don Brash with Banks) … but Mr Key didn’t bite. It all came out later — but that was well after the election. Timing, as they say, is everything.
Also, I’m struck again — genuinely impressed — by what a good communicator John Key is. He comes across very well in that interview. Even if what he’s actually saying, and his somewhat slippery argument, makes you uneasy … or to consider how politicians abuse power and intimidate/charm/manipulate the news media for their political advantage — you could almost call it Dirty Politics, eh?
Duncan Garner later revealed that John Key had been telephoning him ‘every night’ towards the end of the 2011 election (looks like some things don’t change!) He said John Key was anxious to know what was on the teapot tape, clearly desperate to suppress its publication. Which Mr Key managed to to. But none of that tension shows in the interview with Rachel Smalley, does it?
Nicky Hager told the media repeatedly that he had gotten rid of the leaked emails and material prior to publishing the book. And also, if I recall correctly, that he had prepared for a police raid. So at best it seems police could only have been hoping he’d been careless or foolish about material that might have exposed the ‘hacker’ Rawshark/Whaledump. Which, given his history (e.g. Secret Power) seemed … unlikely.
As a wag on Twiiter said, drily —
click to read on Twitter
So, we’re left with another possibility: The state is heavying Nicky Hager as a lesson for other journalists to observe. Chilling.
Election night Sept 2014: John Key comes clean about secret after-hours contact [pic by Mark Mitchell NZ Herald]
In the aftermath of the National Party’s emphatic re-election to lead a coalition government in New Zealand, surprisingly little has been made of Party Leader John Key’s confession to a secret relationship.
It was contact John Key admitted he was warned not to engage in.
“I was told not to … I know I shouldn’t have,” Mr Key admitted, confiding to friends that he had deliberately cultivated a relationship in ways he kept hidden from others. At the end of the day, the Prime Minister-elect seemed to make no excuses for his deceit, saying: “But anyway. Whatever. It was our little secret.”
The object of Mr Key’s forbidden attention was (as is so often the case, insiders say) a National Party campaign worker with whom he had worked extremely closely.
Political observers say it’s common, almost a cliché, to discover that the intensity of an election campaign can throw people together. As well as the ‘thrill’ of pursuing a joint goal, defending one another from attacks, election campaigns also bring long hours, hard work, and time away from home. It all takes a toll. The stresses and tensions of the campaign trail can create unbearable pressures — pressures that demand to be released. Continue reading →
I heard this on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Media Show’ this morning, and thought, “That’s worth sharing” — and not just because it features my sole remaining favourite right wing vixen Louise Mensch. (Best line: ‘blood on the carpet’.)
Sparked by a recent changing of the guard at BBC’s Newsnight programme, the discussion traverses various types and styles of political interview. Despite the shop talk and references to events offstage, I found it interesting to consider the place of ‘theatre’ and aggressive/defensive approaches in interviews … and how our own players compare when extracting information or putting politicians on the spot.
So, here you go … listen to the excerpt (approx 11 mins) here:
Interviewing politicians, excerpt from BBC’s The Media Show 1 Oct 2014 MP3 file
click to listen at www.BBC.co.uk
Or you can listen to the whole very worthwhile episode of The Media Show — which covers the recent scandal about the entrapment via fake Twitter profile of a UK minister, and dangers faced by journalists — at The Media Show’s BBC Radio 4 webpage.
This report from Flashpoint: ‘Measuring the Impact of the Snowden Leaks on the Use of Encryption by Online Jihadists’ (available here as web page or PDF) concludes (SPOILER:) Meh, not so much.
click to read at Flashpoint Partners website
The Flashpoint report recounts how the use of encryption techniques by such groups — and the promotion by them of such techniques — was already underway and stayed pretty much unchanged by the Snowden revelations. It’s worth a read but I wouldn’t click on any of the links in it to the jihadi web sites mentioned (and especially the dark web sites) unless you want to set off a little hooter at the NSA and flag your IP address as one ‘of interest’. Continue reading →
This 3 minute excerpt of Apple’s CEO Tim Cook talking to Charlie Rose yesterday interested me for a couple of reasons 1) encrypted iMessages with Apple keyless and 2) his very strong denial of rumours/suggestions of NSA back-door access … ‘the Snowden thing’ (starts 2:10, but watch the whole 3 mins):
Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our customers’ personal data, and we don’t collect or maintain a mountain of personal details about our customers in the first place. There are certain categories of information which we do not provide to law enforcement or any other group because we choose not to retain it.
For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt that data. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’ location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.
But, for the record, remember this:
So maybe the NSA was talking big (‘embellishing’, to use Cameron Slater’s approved nomenclature) to impress their mates?
Here are the articles published by Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden about mass surveillance of New Zealand citizens by spy agencies that form part of the FIVE EYES intelligence alliance.
These were released in the lead up to the anyway-you-look-at-it history-making event at Auckland Town Hall last night, ‘The Moment of Truth’ featuring Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Amsterdam, Kim Dotcom and Laila Harre. That’s viewable on youtube here.
Click to watch a video of the event at youtube
I think it’s always good to read such documents carefully and consider their wording — and also the wording of any denials or contradictions. Take your time.
Click to read at The Intercept or PDF archive below
Regular readers will know my views of suspicionless, non-targetted government surveillance. I oppose it.
I oppose it whichever ‘colour’ of government would seek to carry it out. That’s why with hundreds, thousands of other New Zealanders I marched down Queen Street in protest last year, why I attended public meetings and rallies and argued against it. And I will continue to. (Does that make me a ‘target’ for government surveillance? Dunno. What do you think?)
click to see other photos of the anti GCSB Bill march in Auckland 27 July 2013
These revelations are deeply disturbing to me, even given the obvious double-talk and head-patting we were given by Mr Key over the expansion of spy agency powers in 2013.
The turnout at July 2013’s “Stop the GCSB Bill” protest rally near Auckland’s Aotea Square. Pic: Peter Aranyi. (Click to enlarge.)
It’s easy to fall for a rapid PR ‘framing’ response, especially from an experienced spin team like Prime Minister John Key’s media machine.
This comment seems a fair description of what happens:
click to read on Twitter
Mr Key has been very quick with the personal attacks lately, hasn’t he?
He has repeatedly described Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald as a ‘henchman’. Does anyone remember Jason Ede, working in Mr Key’s Beehive office, feeding smears, Official Information, unflattering photos, leaked/hacked info from websites etc to attack bloggers Cameron Slater and David Farrar … to destabilise and discredit Mr Key’s political opponents? Now THAT’S a henchman!
Take the time to watch Glenn Greenwald’s interview with Lisa Owen on TV3’s The Nation, as I did this morning …
Click to watch at 3News.co.nz
Greenwald has enormous credibility in my eyes. I guess that makes me a screaming conspiracy theorist.
But remember this, from July 2013, around the time of public dissent about the GCSB Bill’s proposed expansion of state security/spy agencies’ power — to (legally) spy on New Zealanders: With respect, Mr Key, you misjudge me.
But let me say this as clearly as I can: ‘Politically aligned or misinformed’? Actually Mr Key, no, I’m neither of those.
Expressing my misgivings and concerns as a citizen about some of the Government of the Day’s policies and actions doesn’t automatically make me (a) ignorant or (b) a supporter of the National Party’s political rivals.
Not just ‘No’, Mr Key. ‘Hell no!’ (With apologies to Harper Lee.)
John Key plays the man, not the ball. Again
Mr Key seems quick to disparage Rodney Harrison QC by name. That is the prime minister’s MO, as I have observed before. He does that. It’s one of the traits people point to when seeking to compare John Key with Sir Robert Muldoon. Another example: John Key threatens Human Rights Commission funding.