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Because I know you are all riveted by what's happening in NZ - Tactical Ninja

Mar. 5th, 2015

09:35 am - Because I know you are all riveted by what's happening in NZ

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Well, if it involves Hobbits you are, anyway. This only peripherally involves Hobbits, in that our PM is about as trustworthy as Gollum and the Eye of Sauron is actually five of them, of which we're the least powerful.

Apparently there's also a club and we have to send Frodo to Mordor troops to Iraq in order to be in it, or something.

What the fuck are you talking about Tats?

Well. Glad you asked. Remember Edward Snowden? Of the NSA leaks and the oh look, it's actually true that the US is spying on pretty much everyone? Yeah, him. Well, there's been some more info released. If you're not interested enough to read it, I'll summarise:

NZ's NSA equivalent, the GCSB, intercepts communications and passes them on to the NSA. These interceptions aren't just from NZ, they are from a very large number of pacific islands*. The interceptions are full take, which means that it includes not just metadata but content, and it's *all* communications, not just those of persons of interest.

So yeah, NZ is a dirty snitch, supporting mass surveillance of ordinary citizens without their knowledge.

The Prime Minister, of course, is denying it. That's ok, he denied the last lot of allegations from Snowden too, the ones about how the newly-extended powers of the GCSB were put in place to allow the NSA to spy on NZers. That time, he backtracked, eggy-faced.

Short aside: and NZ voted him back in. Yes, we are a country of gullible fools apparently.

Anyway, he also denies the content of the book Dirty Politics, calling the author a "screaming left wing conspiracy theorist". At the same time as claiming it was all bullshit, he sacked one of the ministers central to the controversy, got the police to raid the home of the author in an attempt to uncover the source of the leaks**, and passed all the blame onto a staffer - ironically the staffer whose job it had been to liaise with the bloggers who were being used to slag the opposition while the PM stayed squeaky clean.

Because that's what you do when you know you've done nothing wrong, right?

*ahem*

So on today's revelations, surprise surprise, Mr Key is once again denying their truth, in fact he's "urging New Zealanders to dismiss claims about spying on foreign allies, saying he can "guarantee" they will be wrong."

Because he's so believable these days. He guaranteed us that the GCSB wasn't collecting info about kiwis and passing it on to the NSA, and he guaranteed us that his government wasn't engaging in dirty politics.

Hey John, your word ain't worth shit these days, eh bro. But keep smiling, I'm sure lots of people *want* to believe you.

And that last bit is the sad truth. Mr Key knows that if he gets enough soundbites out there saying Hager is wrong, people will eventually believe it. And the evidence of spying is technical, complicated and long - and very few people want to make the effort to read and understand it. Any summary is easily dismissed as spin by those who like Key's smile.

We are a country of gullible fools.

And to add to my desire to go live in a cave, this morning there was this*** - NZ Customs is apparently trying to gain the power to compel people to reveal the passwords to their devices. Because terrorism and drugs****.

This is what happens when I read the news. I do wonder if this terrorism/surveillance vicious circle will eventually lead to a split in society a la Hunger Games or 1984, where there are those living inside the grid, and those who live completely off it.

Anyway, thanks America*****. I can see why you think you're so awesome.

* There are a *lot* of these, and they are mostly NZ's allies and trading partners, and generally not considered terrorist havens.
** Because it's totally ok to use the police to harass political journalists who are not suspects in the commission of a crime in contravention of their right to protect their sources, yes?
*** Worth clicking that link just for the URL
**** Because getting high on Saturday night is totally the same as blowing up buildings full of people, right?
***** Because I love asterisks. Actually because I wanted to say present company excepted. I know most of my US friends a) didn't vote for the bastards, and b) have even less political power than the average kiwi.

Comments:

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From:villagecharm
Date:March 4th, 2015 08:46 pm (UTC)
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Isn't there some kind of agreement in which the Anglophone countries all essentially spy on each other and share the information, to circumvent national laws against domestic surveillance?

I think this is it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UKUSA_Agreement

So, while the USA is indeed the Awesomest when it comes to illegal spying, this was apparently a legacy of the Brittanish Empire as well, which seems to be how Canada, Australia, and NZ got roped into it.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 4th, 2015 08:49 pm (UTC)
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Yes. It's called the Five Eyes Network. But it's also true that the increasing surveillance of ordinary citizens under the umbrella of Five Eyes is almost entirely driven by the US government.

NZ as a small and relatively powerless nation is left with the choice of being part of that, or having an alliance with say, China - and then bearing the brunt of US wrath in the style of 'if you're not with us, you're agin us'.



Edited at 2015-03-04 08:50 pm (UTC)
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From:villagecharm
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC)
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One of the many problems with agreements like this seems to be that they're never undone. If World War II provided the initial motivation for the setup, then the Cold War provided a continuing justification. When the Cold War ended, it was something else for a while (Crime?) until the "war on terror" provided a seemingly endless justification for the maintenance and expansion of the program.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:16 pm (UTC)
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What scares me is that NZ pulled out of military alliance with the US when we declared ourselves nuclear free in 1985. This Five Eyes business is not a military alliance, but now we're sending troops to Iraq anyway, and it's "the price of being in the club." The Five Eyes club. Led by the US, we are being dragged back in, against the will of most of our population.

Next thing we'll have fucking US warships in our ports again.
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From:villagecharm
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:19 pm (UTC)
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This is one of the many ways in which Barack Obama is not in any way better than his predecessor, but American liberals are desperate to avoid any kind of discussion to that effect.

The unity of the two U.S. parties on foreign policy is one of the little-noticed but most important developments of the last 15 years. During the Cold War, at least, there were real differences. Now everyone, Republican or Democrat, embraces the notion of a Pax Americana.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:24 pm (UTC)
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It's exactly the same here. Our supposedly-liberal party, Labour, is about 2 degrees left of the conservative party, National. To the point where lots of people refer to them as National Lite. The actual liberal party, the Greens, has steadily increased in power but is still very much a third party (we have MMP so they have seats in parliament) that struggles for mainstream recognition.

Having said that, I recognise that NZ's most right-wing party is still left of the US's most left-wing one.
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From:villagecharm
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:30 pm (UTC)
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That's certainly true; there's effectively no left in the U.S. The labor unions that were its traditional strength have basically disappeared, and nothing has replaced them.

Ironically, the people in the U.S. who make the most noise about government surveillance actually tend to be on the further right, i.e. the libertarians.

It is, on the whole, a depressing situation.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:33 pm (UTC)
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Yep.. scoping out warm dry caves as we speak.
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From:villagecharm
Date:March 5th, 2015 12:01 am (UTC)
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I'm sure there's a whole secret agency in Washington devoted to installing electronic surveillance in caves. No, in order to escape the attention of Big Brother, you'll have to venture to a remote place the American government never even thinks about: Anywhere Black People Live.
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From:pundigrion
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure our countries PMs are first cousins if not brothers. They don't look that similar mind you, although I am positive they went to the same Smug Smile School:



versus

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From:tatjna
Date:March 4th, 2015 09:48 pm (UTC)
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OH GOD SHOOT ME NOW
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From:pundigrion
Date:March 6th, 2015 09:21 pm (UTC)
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From:labelleizzy
Date:March 4th, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC)
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at least the first dude had a smile that went to his eyes.
Dude two is pretty fucking creepy with that "I'm at a funeral meeting relatives I don't like" smile
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From:tatjna
Date:March 4th, 2015 11:05 pm (UTC)
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That's because Dude One actually does feel smug.
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From:richaarde
Date:March 5th, 2015 12:56 am (UTC)
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The Canadian PM's smile is the smile that says he'll kill you in your sleep. Yikes.
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From:labelleizzy
Date:March 4th, 2015 11:00 pm (UTC)
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oh GOD.
why are governments so fecking horrible?
not enough headdesk in the WORLD for this.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 5th, 2015 01:02 am (UTC)
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Cave. STAT.
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From:richaarde
Date:March 5th, 2015 12:53 am (UTC)
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Wow, that Snowden guy is a thorn in everyone's side, isn't he?

Politics will be politics. My side never does anything wrong. The other side is always the one that screws everything up. Pay no attention to the emails I sent and the deals I cut with the devil.

At this point, the only people in my country that actually want the NSA to exist work in big marble buildings in Washington. Both sides have approved and extended the policy, even though anyone outside of said marble buildings knows that they're a terrible way to make good on peace. Sorry everyone in my government is a wanker.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 5th, 2015 01:00 am (UTC)
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Sorry everyone in my government is enabling them.
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From:fbhjr
Date:March 5th, 2015 01:59 am (UTC)
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You're not wrong about the ***** stuff.
But, I am still sorry for the forces in my country doing this in yours.

I once interviewed for a job at the N S A. It was an interesting experience.
Just as glad I didn't do it.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 5th, 2015 02:18 am (UTC)
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I live in the capital, and you can't throw a stick without hitting someone who's concerned about their security clearance. ;-/
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From:kehleyr
Date:March 5th, 2015 03:25 pm (UTC)
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Well, if it involves Hobbits you are, anyway. lol indeed.
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