Thursday, August 15, 2013

Point/Counterpoint

In view of Gravedodger's post below claiming that John Campbell got his arse handed to him by the PM in this interview about the GCSB legislation, I felt obliged to offer an alternative view.  I've watched the interview, in which Campbell does indeed struggle to pin down a very slippery corporate-weasel-turned-politician, and note the following points about how cleverly Key manages to sucker the more simple-minded of Campbell's viewers.

01:00.  Key defends his view that the media should be concentrating on snapper quotas because it's a more popular issue.  Well, duh - anything that will directly affect you personally is more important to you than arcane constitutional issues, but so what?  A quick perusal of Stuff's most popular stories over a few days should be enough to demonstrate that by Key's definition, the truly important issues of the day are celebrity gossip and anything involving tits.

01:30 - 01:48.  Campbell suggests Key's finally agreed to appear and answer questions because National's internal polling shows people aren't happy with his "snapper" blather.  Key says that's wrong because their internal polling shows they're still on 49%.  It sounds like an answer but actually isn't - excellent politician/corporate weasel response.

02:55 - 03:40.  Key claims wholesale spying on NZers isn't possible because it requires a warrant.  Campbell points out the warrant is issued by the PM and someone appointed by the PM.  Key avoids dealing with the issue by pretending Campbell is accusing him of corruption.  Again, very deftly handled.

04:20 - 04:30.  Key claims it's OK to have the PM and his appointee issuing warrants for the GCSB to spy on NZers because there is an inspector who can review things upon request, so any unlawful spying would be revealed.  This is very, very clever weaseling.  First, a person has to know they've been spied on to request a review, and second, the spying won't be unlawful because the PM and his mate have issued a warrant for it.  But how many viewers noticed?

04:50 - 07:00.  Removal of section 3.14 prohibiting the GCSB from intercepting the communications of NZers.  Key makes a big deal of how the legislation was passed by Helen Clark's government, which is true but irrelevant.  Then he enters a complicated argument about how interception of Kim Dotcom's communications was illegal under section 14 of the old law because he's a permanent resident, and it would be just as illegal under the new law. By the time he gets to the end of it you've lost track of where the start was, which makes it very hard to catch the grift - the grift being of course, that section 14 is removed from the new law so how exactly would spying on Kim Dotcom still be illegal under it?  I'm no lawyer and for all I know Key is right that the spying would still be illegal under the new law, but his answer doesn't give us any reason to assume that.

07:25.  Key says lawyers understand the horrendous ambiguity of the new legislation.  The Law Society says they don't - but what would they know, right?

08:10 - 08:45 Key falls back on them not being able to parse the contents of your communications, just store the metadata.  Then he heads off on a red herring about the GCSB's role mainly being to protect NZ's communications, much like anti-virus software, which is again true but irrelevant.

10:47 - 11:00 After Campbell shows a couple of clips of people saying this legislation is rushed, Key brushes it off with the claim that there was nothing in the public submissions that warranted slowing things down. I guess he would say that, having declared at 10:04 that the Law Society, the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission were all wrong in their concerns about the bill.

In the next few minutes there are questions about which tools the GCSB is using, which are of interest to Campbell because some of the available tools would allow spying on NZers without breaking NZ law.  Key says this won't happen, but of course can't say whether GCSB is using those tools or not.

15:00 - 15:50 Campbell points out the NSA lied to Congress about wholesale spying on Americans under similar legislation to Key's.  Again, Key avoids the issue by pretending Campbell is accusing him of something.

16:00 Key offers a reductio ad absurdum, saying how much it would cost to intercept the communications of everyone in the country - which of course isn't and never was the issue.

17:00 - 17:10 Again, very clever weaseling.  According to Key, it doesn't matter what techniques GCSB is using, as long as what it's doing is legal. To a chump, this all sounds very reasonable. However, to see the grift, recall what the subject under discussion actually is. The question of exactly what it should be legal for the GCSB to do is the very point at issue.

Anyone who could watch that and not see a consummate weasel in full control of his craft is either a National Party partisan or just not very bright.  And for those reassured at the thought of Key and one of his mates issuing warrants for who can be spied on, picture for yourself a future Labour/Greens coalition and see if you're still chuffed at the idea.

29 comments:

The Veteran said...

PM ... well that certainly is an 'alternative' view not shared by such luminaries of the media Left as Brian Edwards et seq.

Hope you aren't persuaded by Keith Locke school of thought which has it that 'Gentlemen don't read other Gentlemen's Mail' ... first said by US Secretary of State Henry Stimson in disbanding 'Foggy Bottoms' code breaking department .... and then the Japanese bombed Pearl harbour.

The real question ... do you accept there may be persons in New Zealand who pose a threat to our nations security ... if the answer is in the affirmative then that is the rationale for the Bill.

The same rationale used by Helen Clarke when she managed through Parliament the now deeply discredited 2003 Act.

gravedodger said...

Gee thanks a bunch Milt, being simple, coupled with the honesty, respect,integrity, philosophical foundations that have sustained me for so many years, your rebuttal will be of great comfort to my many detractors.
To me it just dont matter, sheesh in the great wool acquisition debate C 1974 a good friend called me a bloody socialist for supporting what I saw as a move to increase control of my income past that of the brokers.

Your analysis however ignores one salient point.
Those of us who desire our nations leaders to maintain national Security, have the elected politicians working under a major handicap that you and your supporters do not have constraining your point of view.
Due to the inescapable fact that to function and continue to function, oversight and control must be carried out in what can seem a very murky environment, ie the poly so charged has one hand tied behind their back and tape over their mouth.
What an outcry we would be witnessing had Key answered the ignorant and potentially destructive questions the increasingly rabid and angry Campbell badgered the PM to answer on operational linked matters, that you apparently accept in the 2nd para of your summation of 10 47 - 11 00 segment.

That my simple one party vote can only cancel the vote of one intellectual giant who wishes only to remove the massive roadblock that Key continues to place in the path of the socialists is all the comfort I need.

The only tool on TV3 at 1905 last night was the incompetent with all the dead trees on his desk.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

What until yesterday was a beltway issue of little consequence has become a major PR triumph for the PM.

Ordinary voters all over NZ will be hearing about it and tuning in.

Their reaction?

"Thank God we've got a PM like John Key running the country."

Psycho Milt said...

Thank God we've got a consummate corporate weasel running the country? Ordinary voters are idiots, are they?

The Veteran: your point could be summed up as "We don't need civil rights because terrorists."

Gravedodger: a politician came on TV last night and told you that you don't need legal protection against surveillance by government agencies because you can trust his government not to do stuff like that - despite the fact his government has been caught out doing stuff like that. You felt reassured and impressed. Ever get the feeling you've been conned?

Paulus said...

Until of the convicted criminal Kim Schultz Dotcon nobody had heard of the GCSB and if they did had no idea of what the initial represented.

gravedodger said...

Far to many times Milt but not very often by someone acting sans the power of legislated authority and then very rarely twice.

If the all conquering state allowed me to take more steps to protect me, mine and the miserable collection of baubles I have accumulated, I might accept less "protection from that state', but that idyllic situation was in simpler times.

That some fanatic or other miscreant can move to threaten me under the "democratic" and non intervening "privacy" enhanced protection we have treasured under our developing societal mores and at worst take my life or the life of someone I care for or love, it requires me to accept what you gloss over as an erosion of rights.
That is a very sad fact but the reality of life in the 21st century.

I accept the thrust of your arguement of a possible danger from an unscrupulous Politician and you clearly regard John Key as such a person, how do you envisage an al queda, weatherman, boston bomber type threat can be thwarted without the SIS, The NZDF or Plod and without some electronic survielance cabability.
What were your published concerns on the 2002 Act when it was introduced and subsequently used 88 times mainly under Ms Clark and her lapdog Ferguson under the impotent scrutiny of the politically appointed, castrated poodle, Commissioner Broad.

Perhaps it is only when a "weasel" occupies the 9th floor and we must replace him with a Bitch Doe or Jill, then it'l all be alright.

Psycho Milt said...

...your arguement of a possible danger from an unscrupulous Politician and you clearly regard John Key as such a person...

I think the past few years have demonstrated pretty conclusively that he's not someone you can expect to respect privacy legislation, but that's irrelevant - the point is that we need to apply strict rules to what politicians can do to us, regardless of what kind of people they are. People whose job it is to know about such things say this legislation doesn't apply such rules.

...how do you envisage an al queda, weatherman, boston bomber type threat can be thwarted without the SIS, The NZDF or Plod and without some electronic survielance cabability.

It's not a choice between John Key's legislation or no security apparatus whatsoever, is it? It's a choice between bad legislation or better legislation.

What were your published concerns on the 2002 Act when it was introduced and subsequently used 88 times mainly under Ms Clark...

Like most people, I don't express concerns about something I don't know is happening. Now we do know it's happening. Key keeps harping on about Clark having done this too, but:

1. What previous govts did is of interest to historians only. What matters is what the current government does.

2. When did Helen Clark become the gold standard for political integrity?

Tom Hunter said...

While I'm very wary of governments watching over my shoulder, I'm afraid that the numerous threats of what these powers could achieve in the hands of Comrade Norman don't carry much weight with me because I already assume that future lefty governments will do it anyway.

So far, so cynical, but it's based on two real-life examples. The first arises from all my Obama-loving friends in the USA who screamed their guts out for years about BushHitler and the fascism of John Ashcroft descending upon the USA with the Patriot Act and FISA warrants. Endless, bug-eyed rage that actually had me convinced in 2008 that their opposition was genuine, even as their hero voted for the FISA renewals as a senator. "Oh he's just protecting his flank against the usual GOP accusations of being weak defending the country. Once he's President he'll turn it around. Constitutional professor don't cha know".
And here we are - with most of those toerags now on my wife's Facebook either sitting silent or making pitiful excuses for Clapper and Holden's lies to Congress.

But the second is closer to home. As it happens Environment Waikato already use a helicopter with an "observer" on board to overfly the region's dairy farms on the lookout for naughty effluent dispersal. At some stage in the near future I expect some bright departmental spark - perhaps after a visit from their friendly Raytheon sales representative - will propose the use of far-cheaper drones. Perhaps even for 24/7 all-weather monitoring. What's the bet that Norman and the rest of his mates (not to mention all those Green voters) will hail such surveillance as a triumphant advance of regulatory enforcement and issue mewling, squeaking excuses in defence of the policy and technology. After all, given the actions of scumbag capitalists they can't be monitored too closely now can they? I'm imagining an EW advertisement featuring a Predator drone and the revised slogan "100% Pure - Or Else"

And I don't expect John Key and "rural vote" National to give a shit about that either.

Keeping Stock said...

You seem to be in a minority Milt.

Shane Ponting said...

Milt I'm reading your post and comments and just cheering the whole time. This is getting scary - normally we are in disagreement?!?!?

Edward the Confessor said...

"You seem to be in a minority Milt."

Yeah Milt! The sorry bunch of tory fuckwits who post and comment here love John Key passionately. That means you're wrong.

Psycho Milt said...

You seem to be in a minority Milt.

For which bit? I don't seem to be in a minority in thinking Campbell was struggling, or in thinking that Key's performance was clever and skillful. I suppose I could be in a minority in thinking that cleverness and skill in giving weasel politician answers isn't a good thing, and it's also possible I'm in a minority in trusting the Law Society, the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission over a politician with a direct interest in the outcome. But if that's the case, I'd rather be in a correct minority than an incorrect majority.

This is getting scary - normally we are in disagreement?!?!?

I suspect we're in complete agreement on right-wingers being enthusiasts for big government when it comes to police, military and security issues.

The Veteran said...

Milt ... you have still to answer the question I posed at the start of this thread ....

"do you accept there may be persons in New Zealand who pose a threat to our nations security?"

and if you do, pray tell what in the Bill you find wrong.

The Veteran said...

EtC ... you use the phase 'Tory Fuckwits'. I guess, if I were a mind to I, could respond with 'Socialist Scum' ... although I'm not sure that would advance the debate 1cm.

But I suppose if you feel the need to get in the gutter and substitute invective for rational argument go2it.

Edward the Confessor said...

"do you accept there may be persons (sic) in New Zealand who pose a threat to our nations (sic) security?"

Yep, tory fuckwits. Even if the answer were yes, why does that mean the state should have carte blanche to read your emails if the PM thinks it's a good idea?

gravedodger said...

Sheesh Confuser do you have any fucking idea of how silly and stupid that charge actually (akshully) if you prefer in your vernacular, is.

How many person hours would it take just to read 1% of the email traffic of the Nation.

I guess not understanding the tosser you akshully are leaves you thinking your outlandish ravings might be seen by an intelligent being, as possible let alone believable.

Shane Ponting said...

"How many person hours would it take just to read 1% of the email traffic of the Nation."

Who cares if someone actually reads them or not, taking a copy "just in case" is unacceptable. Once you have all the emails in the cloud you can then search and cross-reference, run branch analysis based upon all sorts of funny behavioural models.

So your comment about person hours is actually quite silly. This is the year 2013, the computer does the reading for you and spits out the "bad guys" based upon your criteria. Sounds great until you realise the GIGO principle applies.

Edward the Confessor said...

Yep, the point is the state will akshully be legally able to do it, my moronic tory shill.

The Veteran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward the Confessor said...

The PM asks the old chum he himself appointed to do it. Carte blanche right there, Mr Tory.

The Veteran said...

EtC .... taking the Goebells route are we with the BIG lie.

Do you 'akshully' know the meaning of carte blanche?

Perhaps you can show me what in the Bill gives the State carte blanche authority to read "your e-mails".

You and yours are the poster boys shills for any terrorist wishing harm on our country.

Ooops, I forgot, according to 'her' we live in a benign environment ... but, if that were right, why did 'she' see the need for the now proven f****d up GCSB Act 2003?

Questions but no answers.

Edward the Confessor said...

It would be a big lie if it was false. It's not. The BIll enables the state to snoop on your emails. Simple. The fact that you can't see that's what the Bill does indicates that it confuses some people and is therefore not providing the clarity the PM says it does. In fact in even confuses him, and he owns it.

The Veteran said...

EtC ... hmmmmmm backing away from your 'carte blanche' bit I see, the lie exposed.

Read the f****n Bill stupid. A warrant to order to intercept the communications of a NZ citizen or a NZ permanent resident with with the Director being required to depose on oath before the Minister and Commissioner of Security Warrants that all the provisions of the Act (and there are many) have been complied with.

Now of course it is a given (in your lexicon) that Sir Bruce Robertson, retired High Court and Court of Appeal Judge is just a lackey of the PM and a member of the GRWC who when John Key sez do it, replies yes sir.

Do your really understand how pathetic that statement is?

And of course, I forgot, home grown terrorists don't exist in your lala land.

Or perhaps you would prefer the circular argument ... the GSCB can only intercept the communications of proven terrorists; proven by intercepting their communications.

Duh double duh.

Always though you were a bit thick, now revealed as stupidly thick.

Psycho Milt said...

"do you accept there may be persons in New Zealand who pose a threat to our nations security?"

The answer's yes, obviously.

and if you do, pray tell what in the Bill you find wrong.

The premise of your question is that if there are threats to national security, it doesn't matter how badly legislation to deal with them tramples our rights. That's a false premise. We don't have to give a sigint group that's meant to monitor communications of foreigners the authority to monitor NZ citizens' communications at the prime minister's pleasure. Which is what this bill does, and which is what's wrong with it.

A warrant to order to intercept the communications of a NZ citizen or a NZ permanent resident with with the Director being required to depose on oath before the Minister and Commissioner of Security Warrants that all the provisions of the Act (and there are many) have been complied with.

The provisions of the Act are that the agency is to monitor the communications of an NZ citizen if the PM and his appointee sign a warrant for it. If that doesn't set warning bells ringing, it should.

Now of course it is a given (in your lexicon) that Sir Bruce Robertson, retired High Court and Court of Appeal Judge is just a lackey of the PM and a member of the GRWC who when John Key sez do it, replies yes sir.

We're talking about legislation here - it applies until it's repealed. Who the incumbent PM and appointee are at the time the legislation is passed is completely, totally, utterly irrelevant. The issue is whether, in principle, it's a good idea to give New Zealand prime ministers the ability to control the signing of warrants for interception of NZers' communications. And in principle, that is one seriously fucked-up idea.

Edward the Confessor said...

The Director is a good chum of the PM. The Commissioner is appointed by the PM. So warrants to intercept the emails of NZers are issued on the request of a chum of the PM, by the PM and someone appointed by the PM. Great checks and balances there tory. And you just love that because it's about the terrorists and all. Idiot.

The Veteran said...

Milt ... thank you for your reasoned response. Opponents of the legislation, including our old 'friend' EtC, would argue that it is wrong that the Minister with political responsibility for the GCSB should have any part in the approval process for a warrant.

For myself I think that responsibility goes with the job. I also think the PM (National or Labour or whatever) would exercise that role responsibly

For all I dislike about HC that is my take on how she acted as Minister in charge. It wasn't her fault that 'her' appointee Ferguson (now revealed as a dullard who, as CDF, couldn't even recall issuing a DI labelling sections of the media as the 'enemy') couldn't/didn't understand that that the more general provisions of the 2003 Act could not be argued as overriding the provisions of Sect 14.

That was the F-U and hence the need for a amending Bill.

Not going to waste my time on EtC with his attack on the integrity of a respected Judge except to say that again, I have a certain faith that any appointee as Commissioner would exercise that role with all due caution and responsibility.

I see some are arguing that the approval process should be exercised by a Committee of the House ... bit like giving an alcoholic free reign in a brewery.
It would be leaked to the media in nanoseconds.

Edward the Confessor said...

Your faith in bureaucrats and politicians to do the right thing with respect to them not getting up in your stuff is touching, Vet. Especially given neither the current PM nor the Director can remember what day of the week it is.

The Veteran said...

EtC ... you lied about 'carte blanche' and were nailed on that and that's where I leave you ... tilting at windmills, abusing respected members of the judiciary and parroting the Keith Locke line who thought Pol Pot was the best thing since sliced bread.

But perhaps you have a point. I'm not concerned about possible abuse of process under a National administration but if your mob (Greens/Labour) were to ever get their grubby hands on the levers of power then I guess anything is possible.

Edward the Confessor said...

Thanks for your admission that the bill grants dangerous powers to politicians and bureaucrats. Good of you to change your mind in the face of the evidence, Vet. Proud of you.