The Jackal

16 Sep 2014

Wendyl Nissen leaves NewstalkZB

Despite the Prime Minister attempting to downplay the serious issues raised by Dirty Politics, a month on from Nicky Hager's book release and we're still learning more about those who were adversely effected by the numerous Whale Oil smear campaigns that have badly undermined our democracy.

Not only did the ground-breaking book blow the lid off the inner workings of an unethically administered National led government, it also exposed the underhanded ways private business interests try to influence public opinion in order to promote their unhealthy and socially destructive products.

One of the main Dirty Politics players employing people like Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham and Cathy Odger's to smear academics and journalists on behalf of big business interests is Food & Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich.

Unfortunately this despicable individual appears to have avoided any repercussions for her deviousness, presumably because those who are meant to hold her to account are also corrupt!

Thankfully some of the people targeted by Katherine Rich's smears have come forward to tell their stories. This is a great way to heal the personal hurt and professional damage that has been caused, by exposing it to the unyielding light of public opinion.

Today, the courageous and levelheaded Wendyl Nissen wrote in the NZ Herald:

Tuning out: Dirty Politics and the blogs

Earlier this year I was on the receiving end of a concerted effort, including legal letters, to get me discredited through my bosses at the Herald.

The person behind it was Katherine Rich, the chief executive of the Food & Grocery Council, which represents companies who produce soft drinks and processed foods, some of which I have written about.


Last week I resigned from my regular Friday morning slot on NewstalkZB, which I have been doing for 15 years, because I didn't want to be on the same platform as Cameron Slater, another commentator on the station, while there are allegations that his views involve cash for comment.

I'm all for free speech when there are genuinely held views, but I believe that if you are paid to express them by big industry or politicians with an agenda, that is not fair.

To claim that all the opinion pieces on Whale Oil Beef Hooked were his own work when most of the time Cameron Slater was simply being used as a front for the National parties negative campaigning and big business interests is about as pathetic as it gets. At the very least Slater et al should go back through all those disgusting articles and update them with the author's real names.

Over the years I have been writing Wendyl Wants to Know for the Herald, I have been offered many incentives to write nice things about processed foods for food producers. I have turned them all down because my readers have to trust me. Objectivity is the first rule of journalism.

At least some journalists have the moral aptitude to do the right thing. Let's hope that more people come forward with their stories and reasoned thoughts on Dirty Politics especially in terms of how best to clean up what is assuredly the biggest mess in New Zealand's political history.

The Moment of Truth

Key left holding the SPEARGUN

What was by far the most important revelation to come out of the Moment of Truth was Edward Snowden's information about SPEARGUN, which was a project completed in mid 2013 to tap the Southern Cross cable. There is no doubt this new evidence has laid waste to John Key's claims that there is no mass surveillance in New Zealand.

Clearly the GCSB has and still is spying on all of our communications. In that regard, Snowden’s information was more like a nuclear bomb blast of new information highlighting New Zealand's involvement in the Five Eyes network.

To your right is the relevant info-graphic showing SPEARGUN wasn’t just a proposal the PM dismissed, it was a functioning tool used by the spying agencies to keep tabs on all of our Internet activities.

Anybody who now doubts that Key was lying about mass surveillance is either an uninformed idiot or has a vested interest in people losing their right to privacy.

Key’s subsequent failure to properly address the serious issues that were raised during the Moment of Truth was compounded by his earlier attempt at a pathetic diversion.

The Prime Minister, just hours before the capacity event took place at the Auckland town hall, released documents about a GCSB project called CORTEX, which appears to be another system entirely to SPEARGUN. The CORTEX project was apparently meant to protect New Zealand from malware attacks, and in my opinion has been proven to be an ineffective use of taxpayer's money if the recent Spark malware attack is anything to go by.

Key claimed the previously classified information proved there was no mass surveillance on New Zealanders, when all it did was show the Prime Minister was willing to declassify secret documents that provide sensitive information about New Zealand’s anti-hacker capabilities. It also showed Key was willing to ignore proper process and release sensitive material in order to support his weakened political position.

But what is perhaps the worst example of deceit to come to light during the Moment of Truth was the fact that while John Key was claiming in public the GCSB law change wouldn't mean mass surveillance, those who were implementing SPEARGUN were awaiting that very same law change so they could start collecting people's data.

Not only did the SPEARGUN project get funding and built while such activity was illegal under New Zealand law, John Key specifically changed the law so that mass surveillance became legal and blatantly lied about what the law change was for.

Clearly the untruthful Prime Minister should do the right thing for once and resign! I simply cannot see how he could bullshit his way out of this one.

At the very least he should release all the documentation concerning SPEARGUN. He won't because John Key is a pathetic con-artist...a politician who clearly doesn't deserve to be in power.

15 Sep 2014

Will Key resign after the Moment of Truth?

You might recall that around this time last year the National party, along with tobacco lobbyist Peter Dunne and the convicted criminal John Banks, changed the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 (PDF) so it was retrospectively legal to spy on the general public. They did this because the GCSB had been caught out illegally spying on Kim Dotcom and more than 80 other New Zealanders, as revealed in the Rebecca Kitteridge's report (PDF).

After some prompting by Green party co-leader Russel Norman, an investigation was launched by the Police, who found that the GCSB had in fact broken the law. They then incorrectly decided not to lay charges, likely because of more government interference by certain National party MPs who have a vested interest in the law not being upheld.

Instead of coming clean about who exactly was being spied on, the Minister responsible, John Key, tried to rely on people's ignorance about the law by claiming the changes simply clarified the GCSB's legal framework. This was a blatant lie, with the amendments allowing for mass surveillance, widespread surveillance that was already within the GCSB's job description.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

PM withheld spying data - critics

The Prime Minister has been accused of withholding critical information on proposed mass surveillance from the public ahead of new spying legislation going through Parliament.

The claims have come from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, Opposition parties and his own coalition partner, United Future leader Peter Dunne.

Greenwald and Mr Key are engaged in a high-stakes game of chicken over claims Kiwis are spied on - the journalist says spies at the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) are carrying out mass surveillance, while the Prime Minister says he stopped plans for such a scheme in March last year.

It would seem highly unlikely that a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist would put his reputation on the line without having some solid and irrefutable evidence. It would also seem that there's some pretty damning evidence if the right wings attempts to discredit and Key's "henchmen" reaction is anything to go by. The nervous little Prime Minister has once again resorted to name calling, because basically he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

So what are the consequences for John Key if Glenn Greenwald's evidence is robust?

On 20 August 2013, the NZ Herald reported:

Key: I'll resign if GCSB conducts mass surveillance

Prime Minister John Key says he and the head of GCSB would resign if the spy agency were found to have conducted mass surveillance.

He made the comment to reporters at Parliament in the light of assurances that the changes to the GCSB Act 2003 would not mean mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

Asked if he and GCSB chief Ian Fletcher would resign if there were mass surveillance, he said yes.

"But the facts of life are it won't happen."

Unfortunately for him, it looks like John Key's bluff is going to be called. In my opinion, if this major political event proves there's mass surveillance, Key should resign forthwith. Much of this will come down to public opinion, public opinion that is based on how well the mainstream media report on what's revealed. Unfortunately they've already been somewhat disparaging about the event and the people behind it.

Personally I think the Moment of Truth, which will be live streamed on The Daily Blog, will live up to the hype. The Prime Minister however, who isn't known for being a man of his word, will arrogantly refuse to resign. He may even try to discredit people by calling them more names...devastating!