Prime Minister Key is extremely naïve, or lying, when he says he is ‘shocked’ by allegations that the GCSB intervened in the Dotcom case on behalf of the United States.
No Prime Minister has full control over the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau), as David Lange acknowledged (in his foreword to Nicky Hager’s seminal 1996 book on the GCSB and its Waihopai spy base (‘Secret Power’).
The Government must rue the day they ever heard of Kim Dotcom, because everything about his action-packed few years of presence in New Zealand so far has come back to bite them in the bum (for example, see “Kim Dotcom And The Good Character Test: Money Versus Power” in Foreign Control Watchdog 130, August 2012, http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/30/06.html).
But the fact of the matter is that they gave him New Zealand permanent residence and the GCSB is supposedly prohibited from domestic spying on NZ citizens and residents.
‘Bowing and scraping’ to the US
New Zealand has just hosted its first visit by a US Defense Secretary in 30 years and the only surprise is that Key didn’t put his back out with all the bowing and scraping he did.
Secretary Panetta made it clear that everything about the US/NZ military and political relationship is on course to revert to the good old days of ANZUS, so why should anyone be surprised that “our” spooks should be doing the bidding of the US Government and its law enforcement agencies in the Dotcom case?
That’s what the GCSB exists to do – to work as local sub-contractors of US intelligence.
Few questions asked of Govt. spooks
The staff at the Waihopai spy base routinely intercept communications for their US and UK big brothers with few questions asked. The spy base does not operate in the interests of New Zealand and should be closed down.
As former whistleblowers (for instance, Katharine Gun in the UK*) have revealed, neither laws nor ethics bother the spooks. Politicians have little idea about what the spies do.
In Britain, the Government Communications Headquarters, which is responsible for massive interception of international business and private communications, is increasingly involved in domestic spying.
At a minimum the GCSB should be put under proper control by a Parliamentary Select Committee before the same thing happens in New Zealand – not the current sham “oversight” regime of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security and the Intelligence and Security Committee.
This committee operates in non-accountable secrecy and is a committee of Government, not a Parliamentary Select Committee.
Better still, it should be shut down, as not being in the national interest. Let the Yanks do their own dirty work rather than hiding behind a so-called “New Zealand” spy agency.
*For information about Katharine Gun, see the review of “The Spy Who Tried To Stop A War: Katharine Gun And The Secret Plot To Sanction The Iraq Invasion”, by Marcia and Thomas Mitchell, in Peace Researcher 39, January 2010, http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/pr39-183b.htm.