March 5th, 2015

pigtails

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

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.