A theory with the GCSB case

September 25th, 2012 at 8:01 am by David Farrar

I was about to blog my theory that the was monitoring the communications of the Finns involved with Megaupload, and failed to throw away any communications involving Dotcom. Then I read in stuff, that is pretty much what happened:

The extradition case could collapse after government spies were found to have illegally bugged the Megaupload millionaire.

The Government Communications Security Bureau unlawfully snooped on Dotcom and co-accused Bram van der Kolk, it emerged yesterday.

Prime Minister John Key said he was “quite shocked” by the revelation and has ordered a probe by an independent watchdog. But he has refused to take responsibility for what he said was “a mistake, an error”.

It appears the blunder occurred because security services were unaware German Dotcom and his co-accused were New Zealand residents. The GCSB is only permitted to monitor foreign intelligence.

Labour and NZ First have been trying to score petty points over this with John Key. If Shearer or Peters could point to an actual single thing that they think John Key did wrong, or that they would have dine differently, then they may have some credibility. The simple fact of the matter is the moment Key was informed, he ordered a full inquiry.

Peters and Shearer have been claiming that Key must have signed an interception warrant, and hence must have known of Kim Dotcom before he claims he did.  This just shows their woeful understanding of the GCSB Act 2003. What is alarming about this, is they are both current or former members of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. Key has confirmed he was not asked to sign an interception warrant or briefed o the operation in advance.

It throws into question the attempt to extradite Dotcom to the United States on anti-piracy charges.

Yes, and no. The extradition is primarily on the evidence compiled by US authorities. However any evidence which was based on unlawful GCSB intercepts will not be allowed in court. It is unknown at this stage, what this is.

Dotcom responded to the revelations by tweeting: “I’m now a real life James Bond villain in a real life political copyright thriller scripted by Hollywood and the White House.” He called the GCSB “the NZ equivalent of the CIA”.

I responded, pointing out that they are in fact more the NZ equivalent of the NSA. The CIA equivalent is more the SIS.

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85 Responses to “A theory with the GCSB case”

  1. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    It is in our collective best interest if Shearer and co continue with the tactics that failed so miserably for Goff.

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  2. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    Yes, I was going to point out the GCSB/NSA thing, but decided not to geek it up too much.

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  3. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    So are you saying that Key gave the GSCB a warrant to spy on The Finns?

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  4. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    There was a massive file on KDC after his residency application so how does the GSCB with all their networking miss that or ignore that he had it granted?
    Deceitful spooks, reminds me of North Korea

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  5. thomasbeagle (77 comments) says:

    Of course, this raises the question of what the GCSB were doing intercepting communications about a copyright case. Was this really important to NZ’s national security?

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  6. flipper (4,065 comments) says:

    Yes, DPF, but as I posted earlier on yesterday’s posting, there are still many questions that Key, Finlayson, Heron et al should now be answering. I said:

    flipper (971) Says:

    September 25th, 2012 at 8:33 am
    I do not pretend to be an expert in such matters, but experience has taught me a few things. Ergo, I repeat soie of the questions that I posed yesterday afternoon and ask a couple more:
    1. CIA and GCSB are not similar.
    2. The US = of the GCSB is the NSA (National Sedcurity Agency). There is a UK = at Cheltenham
    3. Ministers have a “no surprises” rule for their Departmental CEOs, and with each other.
    4. The Crown filed a memorandum with the High Court in August, according to one Towers, acting for DottieC.
    5. Dottie’s legal team has known since August, according to their public statements.
    6. Key says he did NOT know until Septrember 17. He then contacted Neazor.
    7. If the Crown filed a memorandum (with the HC) in August stating that the GCSB had acted illegally, when did the Solicitor General know?
    8. Is Heron, the newly appointed SG involved. If so, did he or whoever was minding the Crown Law shop tell Finlayson?
    9. When did Finlayson tell Key?
    10. Are there other questions? Yes, like:

    11. Why did Key say he had been advised not to comment publicly until documents had been filed with the Court?
    12. Was that (last week) when the Crown filed the admission of illegality with the High Court?
    13. Are a number of dates and related matters still being fudged? IT APPEARS SO.

    ERGO, TIME TO ASK MORE QUESTIONS OF JK. The House could be interesting – if Shearer gets his shit together.

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  7. peterwn (3,272 comments) says:

    Whether improperly obtained evidence is admissible is a ‘balancing’ exercise between the gravity of the alleged offence and thye seriousness of the breach involved with obtaining the evidence. It would obviously be wrong if a pedophile or murderer could get away with it because of a relatively minor breach. However ‘commercial’ copyright breach even though an indictable offence carrying 5 years jail would be relatively minor in the scale of things. The sanction is declaring inadmissible the improperly obtained evidence and as far as I know other evidence ‘opened up’ by the improperly opened up evidence.

    If there is a parallel stream of untainted evidence available, this could still be sufficient for a successful prosecution.

    For GSCB there is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. GSCB may not know that a NZ resident is a party to ‘foreign’ communication, although in this case it seems they would have known that one ‘end’ of the communication was in NZ. However commercial breach of copyright seems to be an insufficiently serious crime to warrant GSCB involvement.

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  8. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Multiple thumbs up to thomasbeagle and peterwn asking why our national security organisations are involved in a copyright case. Are they sponsored by Hollywood?

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  9. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Chris-Maybe the Feds provided them with cause for concern.
    Mr Farrar seems to think they were spying on the Finns involvement with Megaupload which would suggest Mr Farrar thinks they can look at other issues too

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  10. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    They were spying on a NZ citizen.

    They need to be fired and if Key authorised it he has to resign.

    Especially as it was not any matter involving national security.

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  11. Sofia (857 comments) says:

    The House could be interesting – if Shearer gets his shit together.

    But can Shearer do that?
    So far he has fucked up questioning Banks
    and questioning Key about Banks
    Phil Goff could probably have done better

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  12. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    The sooner we get rid of Dot Com out of our country the better. Do we really need people like him?

    Isn’t Shearer on the GCSB committee?

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  13. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    Surely this whole thing is a needless distraction – people losing jobs should be the primary focus.

    Incompetent education minister, incompetent GCSB, incompetent police….. what next?

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  14. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    BeaB (1,319) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    The sooner we get rid of Dot Com out of our country the better. Do we really need people like him?

    His prior offending resulted in probation. He subsequently created a business that was the 13th most popular website on the internet. We allow worse people to come into the country with much less to offer.

    Hell, if New Zealanders are stupid enough to get all pissy about nuclear warships in the deluded view that this somehow is standing up to the yanks, then why not Kim Dotcom?

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  15. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    peterwn (1,795) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Whether improperly obtained evidence is admissible is a ‘balancing’ exercise between the gravity of the alleged offence and thye seriousness of the breach involved with obtaining the evidence. It would obviously be wrong if a pedophile or murderer could get away with it because of a relatively minor breach. However ‘commercial’ copyright breach even though an indictable offence carrying 5 years jail would be relatively minor in the scale of things.

    If potential penalties are not “the scale of things” then what is? And does the admissibility of illegally acquired evidence in serious cases encourage the authorities to ignore the rules if they feel the case is serious enough and knowing that evidence may still be admitted?

    Are our civil rights inversely proportional to the seriousness of the accusations the state wishes to level at us?

    What are the penalties incurred for those who breach the rules?

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  16. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Weihana of course there wont be penalities otherwise those chosen to get the blame will likely spill the beans on the BS inquiry. It will be “internally disciplined” or something

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  17. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    My car wouldn’t start the other day. I blame John Key.

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  18. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    “I responded, pointing out that they are in fact more the NZ equivalent of the NSA. The CIA equivalent is more the SIS.”

    Except that the CIA are legally prohibited from conducting operations within the USA … it’s the FBI that carry out such covert surveillance/interception work. So the comparisons don’t really match up very well at all.

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  19. Chris2 (766 comments) says:

    Public accountability and transparency has always been almost non-existent amongst the SIS and GCSB, compared to other Government departments.

    In these circumstances it is not unreasonable for the public to be able to expect the responsible Minister to be fully informed about their activities. The Minister in charge of the SIS and GCSB has always been the Prime Minister. Perhaps it is time for the intelligence portfolio to be the responsibility of someone other than the Prime Minister, someone who can devote more time and attention to managing the portfolio.

    This is not a criticism of Key, or any other Prime Minister, but rather that maybe the intelligence agencies do not have the same level of oversight because their Minister is always a busy Prime Minister.

    I am not aware of any other first world country where the Prime Minister is also responsible for the country’s intelligence organisations (this generally only happens in third world countries or dictatorships). In Australia the responsible Minister is the Attorney-General, and in the UK it is the Home Secretary. Why not have this here?

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  20. flipper (4,065 comments) says:

    Look, this is not a matter to be swept under the carpet.
    And it need NOT involve politics.

    The GCSB and the SIS both opoerate in a unique legal framework. They have special powers in the interests of our national security.
    Scrutiny is limited, and we are asked to accept that Key,Shearer, Neazor et al will protect the interests of all New Zealanders.
    But this case seems to involve nothing beyond allegations by Hollywood et al that their copyright has been infringed . It also involves typical US/FiB Icharges relating to moiney laundering.

    National Security? Not even close.

    Earlier I posted several unaswered questions. The following are some more – or some that have now been better phased:

    Questions:
    On what date/dates, precisely, did the GCSB get involved?
    On what date/dates did they commit their illegal acts?
    How was it that KDC’s legal team knew in August?
    Why did JK not know until Sept 17?
    When, exactly, did the Crown Law Office file its mea culpa with the High Court?
    Did Crown Law (Solicitor General Heron) tell Attorney General Finlayson?
    If not, why not?
    If so, when did Finlayson tell Key?
    If not, why not?

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  21. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Weihana
    His millions are based – according to the accusations against him – on the theft of other people’s work.

    I believe in a free internet but I also think people are entitled to fair payment for what they create or produce.

    If he is found guilty, will he be deported? I hope so.

    I think people see him as big and cuddly (yuk! that poor little wife of his!) rather than a fat and friendless German of dubious ethics.

    And the media are entranced by him and rarely do any investigation of his background or business activities.

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  22. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Which NZ citizen is that Redbaiter?
    http://www.dol.govt.nz/immigration/knowledgebase/item/4693

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  23. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Flipper let me know those answers- good luck

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  24. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Er, Flipper that is the sort of stuff that the inspector general will be looking at.
    No doubt his report will come into the public domain so why not wait for that.

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  25. Yoza (1,873 comments) says:

    How is the minister (John Key) responsible for the operations of the GCSB not responsible for the activities of that agency? Is it only when that agency gets caught with its had firmly stuck in the cookie jar that that ‘responsibility’ becomes a rubber-stamping, anything goes exercise, where the oversight of all operations are the exclusive domain of the unelected officers at the GCSB under the auspices of their US handlers.

    This is affair appears as an example of John Key, in cahoots with NZ officials, acting as mercenaries for the interests of foreign corporations. There seems to be an exclusive chunk of the New Zealand ‘public’ service (best demonstrated in Nicky Hagar’s ‘Other People’s Wars’) that exists as an outpost of US/UK foreign policy, and, the foreign policies of the US/UK establishment exist to serve the interests of US/UK privately owned corporations. The argument could be made that a threat to the profitability of any major US/UK corporation is a threat to the national security interests of either of those countries, a condition which would allow almost any form of clandestine activity.

    As the governments of western countries exist to serve the interests of our global corporate overlords it should come as no surprise that a domestic spy agency is acting in the interests of massive US media corporations.

    Welcome to ‘The New World Order’.

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  26. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Alex this is what it will look like in the public domain

    “….Kim DotCom……… MegaUpload…………Yours faithfully Inspector General”
    The rest is withheld due to National Security concerns

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  27. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    BeaB (1,320) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Weihana
    His millions are based – according to the accusations against him – on the theft of other people’s work.

    That is one argument. Another argument is that service providers are not necessarily responsible for how users use that service just as Youtube isn’t responsible for the unauthorized copyrighted content it hosts. Moreover, at the time he applied for residence there were no warrants for his arrest and my understanding is that Megaupload had legal advice that their business model was legal.

    I believe in a free internet but I also think people are entitled to fair payment for what they create or produce.

    I agree in principle, but “fair” is context dependent. I do not agree that technology should be restricted because artists are threatened and that is precisely what the SCOTUS “inducement” theory does to Peer 2 Peer technology and cloud storage.

    Moreover, I think you employ assumptions about the rights that must be attached to protected works in order to generate a reward. It goes without saying that downloading unauthorized copies of work can be done with ease and virtually no fear of consequence. Given that the most widely shared artists continue to prosper then the notion that new technology is hurting artists is questionable. It seems to me people often conflate the record shop or the video rental store with the actual artist.

    Where is the evidence that artists are actually suffering? If they aren’t suffering then laws should be relaxed rather than strengthened. Alternatively, perhaps certain types of artists are suffering whilst others are benefiting in which case perhaps the rules should be relaxed in some ways and strengthened in others. Of course, none of these points are getting much consideration it seems when it is corporate profits and lobbying which influence politicians.

    If he is found guilty, will he be deported? I hope so.

    He does not need to be found guilty. An extradition hearing is analogous to a committal hearing. If the US is successful in extraditing him he will be sent to the United States and if found guilty will presumably spend a long time in a US federal prison.

    Although it does seem to me a tenuous argument to invent a criminal offense on the basis of a civil law concept dreamed up by the SCOTUS.

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  28. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    When is there going to be a court case against Apple for its Ipod?

    1. The product incites infringement with its marketing campaign (“Rip, Mix, and Burn”)
    2. The product lacks filtering technology to ensure only legitimate files are played.
    3. The product employs an infringement-based business model by employing an enormous storage potential that can only be meant for storing illegal libraries of music.

    http://web.law.duke.edu/publiclaw/supremecourtonline/commentary/mgmvgro

    But then, the Ipod is sanctioned by the industry. So what we really have here is the entertainment corporations seeking to exercise control over the technology sector by endorsing those products and companies which are friendly (Apple, Youtube/Google etc.) and denouncing and prosecuting those other companies that are not (Megaupload, Megabox).

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  29. flipper (4,065 comments) says:

    In the light of what we now know (W.English after legal advice signed a warrant) I think we should forget about Neazor and just ask the questions.
    As for answers…. well based iobfguscation , spin and BS… we may wait an eternity.

    [DPF: English signed a certificate, not a warrant. They are very different things]

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  30. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    Double Dipton English joins the fray: http://news.msn.co.nz/nationalnews/8537983/key-faces-grilling-over-gcsbs-spying

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  31. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    “Although it does seem to me a tenuous argument to invent a criminal offense on the basis of a civil law concept dreamed up by the SCOTUS.”

    Exactly right. Intellectual copyright infringement should not involve taxpayer funded law enforcement agencies. It should be a civil matter.

    SCOTUS is just a bunch of politically jaundiced liberals and almost everything they have ruled on has been driven by political interests rather than judicial process.

    That police helicopters and swat teams and illegal spying were so enthusiastically activated in NZ at the request of the FBI is a major fail in our own judicial processes and heads should roll.

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  32. tom hunter (4,843 comments) says:

    As the governments of western countries exist to serve the interests of our global corporate overlords …

    That’s right – like John Banks being “bought” by secret campaign contributions to do DotCom’s will.

    When it comes to DotCom, watching hardline lefties like Yoza is like watching Faye Dunaway with Jack Nicholson:
    She’s my sister…
    [slap]
    She’s my daughter…
    [slap]

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  33. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    The GCSB would not have acted on its own accord but at the request of another agency. If it did it would be operating in a rogue fashion outside of its mandate.

    The three basic questions are 1) who made the request and what was the justification for it? 2) who in the GCSB authorised the wiretaps? 3) why was the PM not informed given the importance of the case?

    Issue 1: The GCSB would not have received a direct request from the FBI, which is pursuing Dotcom’s extradition. The FBI is a law enforcement agency that liaises with the NZ police. As has been mentioned, the GCSB, as a signals intelligence agency, has the NSA as its US counterpart. The NSA does not involve itself in common law enforcement matters such as copyright infringement and extradition requests. Thus the FBI could have asked the NZ Police to monitor a group of NZ based foreigners suspected of criminal activity in the US, and the FBI would have not necessarilly known of the residency status of those foreigners when making the request. Whatever happened, the request was apparently made in late 2010 or early 2011, when the residency status of the suspects was being processed but not finalized (Dotcom received permanent residency in November 2011).

    The NZ Police then would have asked the GCSB to wiretap the foreigners, perhaps because their legal residence status was not finalized. The question is whether the Police knew or did not know of the legal immigrations status of the foreign suspects, and whether it conveyed that to the GCSB. For its part the GCSB apparently did not ask about their residency status even though its charter prohibits spying on NZ citizens and residents (all the suspects are now NZ permanent residents). Since the SIS has responsibility for domestic espionage on residents and citizens, the Police should have gone to the SIS for the wiretaps, which would require warrants and a sign-off by the PM. Again, perhaps the Police were playing on the fact that the residency status of the suspects was not yet determined at the moment the request for wiretaps was made. Either way, it would not be difficult for the GCSB to double-check the residency status of the suspects with other government agencies. Whether it did or did not is an open question.

    Issue 2: Who in the GCSB authorized the taps? Was it a middle ranking GCSB manager who saw the issue as a routine request from the Police that did not require action from superiors (since the GCSB can spy on foreigners without NZ resident status as a matter of course)? Or did the request get passed up the chain of command to the Director? If it did, the next question is why the Director did not inform the PM during one of his regular briefings, given that the case had the makings of an international incident? Depending on when the wiretaps were requested the Director would have been Bruce Ferguson or Jerry Mataperae. If the request was pushed up to the Director, then the question is why he choose not to inform the PM. Perhaps it is because the subjects were considered to be non-resident foreigners until their applications were approved, so the PM need not be informed.

    Issue 3: Did the PM receive any briefs about the wiretaps andifi so when? Given the potential for a large political downside (as is happening now), it might have been prudent to inform the PM of the taps even though there was no legal mandate to do so (if the suspects were non-residents at the time of the taps). But even if that is the case, the GCSB was duty bound to stop the taps and hand overthat job to the SIS once residency was granted to the suspects, which as mentioned appears to have happened in mid 2011. Given that the pre-raid Police briefs apparently included GCSB personnel, that would suggest that its involvement extended beyond the date on which permanent residency was granted to Dotcom. Mr. Key says the first he heard about the bugging was last week. Labour says that it heard about the GCSB involvement some weeks ago.

    I shall stop given the length of the post but let’s just say that issues of professionalism and competence are bound to surface in the IG’s investigation.

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  34. tom hunter (4,843 comments) says:

    the notion that new technology is hurting artists is questionable.

    A couple of decades ago I remember reading the Music section of The Listener, written by ye old hardline lefty, Gordon Campbell (like Russell Brown it was his starting beat before naturally devolving to politics). In that article he pointed to the substantial increases in revenue that had accrued to the ‘record’ companies, even as the number of new artists they signed had dwindled in relation to their stable of bankable stars.

    Result: boredom – not that the companies cared.

    And you can see that their judgement of talent and how it should be handled is as woeful as ever if you take a look at the godawful videos they put together for Kimbra’s debut album. I guess it is a matter of taste but it seems to me that any music person with half-a-brain would have looked at the original videos of her recording the songs in Melbourne’s SIng Sing Studio and realised what would grab the attention of audiences. I’ve not checked whether the studio’s official album videos are up on YouTube or not but if they are I’d be willing to bet their viewing numbers don’t come close to the Sing Sing videos.

    So fuck the music companies.

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  35. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Comparing the SIS to the CIA David, rather unkind, has a CIA agent lost a briefcase containing two pies and gasp, a Penthouse magazine ?

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  36. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    Excellent explanation that makes KB worth reading.
    Thank you, Paul Buchanan.

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  37. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    And luck the artists too. Most of them are commies.

    Why should a no talent like (for example) Madonna have her earning capacity underpinned by taxpayer funded agencies enforcing dodgy copyright laws?

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  38. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    Paul did a good interview on RNZ nine to noon saying similar things. worth a listen.

    @ Paul

    Do you think GCSB has dumped the police in this as a bit of pay back?

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  39. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    And FUCK predictive text too.

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  40. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Thanks Elaycee. This man gives me the creeps and I have wondered why everyone is so starry-eyed about him.
    Anyone else who tried to bribe public officials would be given the boot.
    He is the last kind of immigrant we need.

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  41. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    Good analysis by Buchanan.
    The question is:-
    Was Dotcom a New Zealand Citizen at the time of the wiretap ?

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  42. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    His prior offending resulted in probation.

    Oh, bollocks. Dotcom has a little more criminal history than that:

    Kim Schmitz (aka Kimble and Kim Jim Tim Vestor). Born 1974 in Kiel, Germany. Citizen of Finland. His track record includes:

    Computer hacking and charges of using and selling stolen calling card numbers in 1994 in Germany for which he received a two-year suspended sentence and was treated as a juvenile.

    In 2001, Dotcom purchased €375,000 worth of shares of the nearly bankrupt company LetsBuyIt.com and subsequently announced his intention to invest €50 million in the company. Unknown to others, Dotcom did not have the funds available to invest, although the announcement caused the share value of LetsBuyIt.com to jump by nearly 300%. Dotcom sold his shares a few days later for €1,568,000.

    Dotcom had also arranged and obtained an unsecured loan of €275,000 from Monkey AG, a company for which Dotcom had served as Chairman of the Board. The funds were to be paid to Kimvestor AG. As a result, both Monkey and Kimvestor went bankrupt. Dotcom expressed remorse, stating that he had been “dazzled” and had not recognised that he would be unable to repay the loans.

    In January 2002, Dotcom was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, deported to Germany, and subsequently sentenced to a probationary sentence of one year and eight months and a €100,000 fine – the largest insider-trading case in Germany at the time. Dotcom also pleaded guilty to embezzlement in November 2003 and received a two-year probation sentence.

    Documents released … under the Official Information Act show that in addition to convictions in Germany for insider trading and computer hacking, Dotcom was summoned to appear in the Hong Kong court in relation to the purchase of shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in December 2010. The offences involved a technical breach of regulations… and resulted in conviction on eight charges and a fine of HK$8000 (NZ$1250).

    So stop fawning and trying to portray this moron as anything but a criminal with shady dealings across several jurisdictions, because his track record speaks for itself.

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  43. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    So Bill English signed off on the GCSB involvement back in August while John Key was at a baseball game in USA – well that pretty much puts out a fire by using petrol…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10836388

    Coming on the back of botched asset sales processes and the saga of a woefully inept John Banks I rather think the writing’s on the wall for the Key administration come the next election – more’s the pity…

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  44. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    Beab & Elcayee-

    So you would be quite OK with this if it was happening to someone you liked?

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  45. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    Elaycee (2,797) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    His prior offending resulted in probation.

    Oh, bollocks. Dotcom has a little more criminal history than that:

    So stop fawning and trying to portray this moron as anything but a criminal with shady dealings across several jurisdictions, because his track record speaks for itself.

    Criminal offending… which resulted in probation as I already said. Criminality does not necessarily prohibit approval for residence and consideration of a character waiver is standard practice. If the seriousness of his offending is judged by the punishment he received then I think it is fair to conclude that we have let worse people in with much less to offer.

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  46. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Redbaiter
    My likes or dislikes have nothing to do with it.
    You will notice my comments are about a man I find obnoxious and I am at a loss why we have him living here.
    I have not commented about the GCSB as I know nothing about it and will wait until we have more info.

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  47. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Radio Labour didn’t miss the opportunity to give leftist Nicky Hager a platform today. It tacked him on to a very interesting, authoritative interview with Paul Buchanan about the electronic intelligence agency and Herr Dotcom.

    Hager had little of value to add on the Dotcom eavesdropping, but brought up the Chowdry case, the Urewera raids, and plenty about alleged monitoring on behalf of the Americans.

    Of the Dotcom case, Hager did say the problems may have arisen from “over-keenness” to be involved in the American operation, and expressed scepticism that John Key did not know about the inquiry.

    Hager’s strength is skill at manipulating the leftist-liberal news media. Pity the National Party or ACT can’t turn him!

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  48. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Yes Joe bloggs. After all the hand wringing over labour incompetence, scamming, doongate, helengrad etc its most amusing to see so many mistakes, dumbass tricks and infantile attempts to get away with them from National. And all the national supporters rallying to try to explain how their “precious” is different..

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  49. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    Simply because we love Neville very much, and we know he’s precious, daring and determined to improve the NZ economy and the welfare of its citizens. Tui ad coming.

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  50. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Deputy Prime Minister Bill English knew the government’s spy agency had snooped on internet tycoon Kim Dotcom, and even signed a suppression order to keep the surveillance from being made public.

    Prime Minister John Key says he found out on Monday that Mr English had signed a ministerial certificate relating to the Government Communications Security Bureau’s (GCSB) surveillance of Dotcom, in his role as acting Prime Minister while Mr Key was overseas.

    “A ministerial certificate is in relation to information about whether the bureau has acted, because a court might ask or someone might ask for that information, so it’s essentially a suppression order,” Mr Key told media on Tuesday.

    It is believed to have been signed while Mr Key was on holiday in the United States in August, and after police were questioned about it in court by Dotcom’s lawyers.

    So, all this time English knew this and left his boss out to dry.

    Time for a new Deputy Leader I reckon.

    There is no way a copyright case should have even been a catalyst for any of this and if the Keystone Cowboys at WGTN Police headquarters hadn’t been so keen to please the FBI we wouldn’t be talking about this now.

    Lots of heads to go and smartly.
    Key didn’t deserve this and this is his stoupid deputy and the like shafting him.

    The good thing will be that Key will no longer trust the Yanks. Its would be interesting to find out how this latest visitor from the USA is involved.

    It was clear from the interview that the USA were backpedaling in NZ now because of China.

    Key should also send that queer bastard yankee representative housed in WGTN back to Obama with a message.

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  51. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    BeaB,

    …I am at a loss why we have him living here….

    Because he has (or had) money and a successful business of course. So far as I know there is no immigration policy which concerns itself with whether or not you find him obnoxious. It’s more a question of whether his bad character outweighs his potential contribution to this country.

    On the face of it a man with considerable means and an internet company that controls a significant portion of the world’s internet traffic is a person we should be attracting. If he was proposing to start up a business then I think his prior bad acts would be more significant but his website was already well established and he was a multi-millionaire.

    Seems to me you are trying to make a judgment in hindsight on the basis of allegations which have not yet passed an extradition hearing.

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  52. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Manolo (7,534) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Simply because we love Neville very much, and we know he’s precious, daring and determined to improve the NZ economy and the welfare of its citizens. Tui ad coming.

    I actually think that he does want to make a difference but when your Deputy undermines you on the sly (reference Brash Emails and now this), and the brown bros are the grunt team in caucus how could he win.

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  53. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    Question Time. Appointment viewing today.

    1.Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Minister responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau: Does he consider that he should have been informed about the unlawful bugging of Kim Dotcom earlier than Monday, 17 September 2012; if not, why not?

    3.Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: How many times has he been formally briefed by the Government Communications Security Bureau, by year, since November 2008?

    4.DAVID SHEARER to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements in relation to Kim Dotcom and the inquiry into the actions of the Government Communications Security Bureau?

    11.CHARLES CHAUVEL to the Attorney-General: Has the Government given any type of indemnity relating to legal actions concerning Kim Dotcom; if so, what are the terms and which agencies were consulted before it was given?

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  54. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7723520/Bill-English-knew-about-Dotcom-spying

    The role of the secretive GCSB began to unravel when Dotcom’s lawyer Paul Davison asked for the identity of mystery individuals at a meeting before police and FBI agents raided the entrepreneur’s Coatesville mansion in January.

    Key defended the bureau. ”The entire time I’ve been the minister there has never been another issue for which I’ve had concerns. I think they’ve got a very thorough processes. They actually self-identified this potential error.”

    How is acting unlawfully a “potential” error? Moreover, how is this error “self-identified” when it is reported that these details unraveled after Paul Davison asked for their identities?

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  55. Yoza (1,873 comments) says:

    A couple of interesting excerpts from a 60 minutes program detailing the activities of the Echelon network (of which the GCSB is a minor module):

    “Mr. MADSEN: (Voiceover) There’s been some speculation that Menwith Hill may have been involved in the intercepts of those communications as–as well.

    And how–how could that be legal? Well, British intelligence could say, ‘Well, we didn’t eavesdrop on members of the British royal family. These happened to be conducted by, you know, one of our strategic partners.’ And, therefore, they would skirt the–skirt the British laws against intercepts of communications.

    (Footage of National Security Agency sign)

    KROFT: (Voiceover) The US admits it often shares intelligence with its allies, but never to get around the law.

    Mr. FROST: Never, Steve, will governments admit that they can circumvent legislation by asking another country to do for them what they can’t do for themselves. They will never admit that. But that sort of thing is so easy to do. It is so commonplace.

    KROFT: Do you have any first-hand experience?

    Mr. FROST: I do have first-hand experience where CSE did some dirty work for Margaret Thatcher when she was prime minister. She…

    KROFT: What kind of dirty work?

    Mr. FROST: Well, at the time, she had two ministers that she said, quote, “They weren’t on side,” unquote, and she wanted to find out, not what these ministers were saying, but what they were thinking. So my boss, as a matter of fact, went to McDonald House in London and did intercept traffic from these two ministers. The British Parliament now have total deniability. They didn’t do anything. They know nothing about it. Of course they didn’t do anything; we did it for them.

    (Footage of Newsham and Kroft)”

    …and…

    “Rep. GOSS: Certainly possible that something like that could happen. The question is: What happened next?

    KROFT: What do you mean?

    Rep. GOSS: It is certainly possible that somebody overheard me in a conversation. I have just been in Europe. I have been talking to people on a telephone and elsewhere. So it’s very possible somebody could have heard me. But the question is: What do they do about it? I mean, I cannot stop the dust in the ether; it’s there. But what I can make sure is that it’s not abused–the capability’s not abused, and that’s what we do.

    KROFT: Much of what’s known about the Echelon program comes not from enemies of the United States, but from its friends. Last year, the European Parliament, which meets here in Strasbourg, France, issued a report listing many of the Echelon’s spy stations around the world and detailing their surveillance capabilities. The report says Echelon is not just being used to track spies and terrorists. It claims the United States is using it for corporate and industrial espionage as well, gathering sensitive information on European corporations, then turning it over to American competitors so they can gain an economic advantage.

    (Footage of report; plane; report; Raytheon sign; Ford and Kroft)

    KROFT: (Voiceover) The European Parliament report alleges that the NSA ‘lifted all the faxes and phone calls’ between the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Saudi Arabian Airlines, and that the information helped two American companies, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, win a $ 6 billion contract. The report also alleges that the French company Thomson-CSF lost a $ 1.3 billion satellite deal to Raytheon the same way. Glen Ford is the member of the European Parliament who commissioned the report.”

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  56. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    A bizarre ‘theory’ about Key and the GCSB issue:

    And we wondered at the time why Key suddenly felt it necessary to go to his son’s baseball game

    http://thestandard.org.nz/cynical-key/comment-page-1/#comment-525756

    My instant reaction too karol. Now we know why he couldn’t attend that memorial service

    http://thestandard.org.nz/cynical-key/comment-page-1/#comment-525786

    As Karol and Anne have noted elsewhere, the urgent baseball trip now looks like cover so he didn’t have to sign paperwork that might be politically damaging.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/key-plays-the-dont-read-dont-care-card-again/comment-page-1/#comment-525813

    Who needs a coherent leader when you have Labour blog drones like this.

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  57. RandySavage (222 comments) says:

    I know youre running lines for the Nats but this opening plumbs new lows
    be OBJECTIVE if you can…I know it hurts
    this whole scenario has miles to run
    key was up to his nuts in guts from the get go

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  58. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    Looks like Paul Buchanan may have been right about all paths leading to the police:


    Spies given wrong information on Dotcom: court papers

    The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) sought assurances from police that Kim Dotcom and his co-accused were foreign nationals, court documents reveal.

    A storm of controversy has erupted after it was revealed on Monday that GCSB illegally spied on the internet millionaire.

    The agency is only allowed to monitor foreign intelligence – and the blunder occurred because Dotcom, a German, and his Dutch co-accused Bram Van Der Volk, hold New Zealand residency.

    Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ) wrongly told GCSB agents the pair were foreigners.

    OFCANZ asked the GCSB to glean information relevant to ”location, awareness on the part of the wanted person of law enforcement interest in them, or any information indicating risk factors in effecting any arrest.”

    The documents state “GCSB sought assurance that all the persons of interest were foreign nationals. OFCANZ gave that assurance”.

    That still doesn’t answer why GCSB was involved.

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  59. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    I’m surprised Key hasn’t been upfront about this matter sooner and given us the fully story.

    Remember what he said just the other day: “Ignorance takes us nowhere”. I couldn’t agree more, so why is he keeping voters in the dark? Or is ignorance OK with some things but not others?

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  60. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    Ignorance is Key (pun intended). Also, very good when dealing with the discredited John Banks.

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  61. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    @Pete

    The GCSB was involved because New Zealand’s Law enforcement, legal system and security agencies have now become an arm of the Hollywood pulp film and junk music industry, aided and abetted by the US government.

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  62. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    “They were spying on a NZ citizen.

    They need to be fired and if Key authorised it he has to resign.”

    Add me to the “I never thought I would agree with Redbaiter” brigade.

    Absolutely right.

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  63. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    Tom, RB is wrong, see what I posted at 1.53 pm, GCSB were told by police they weren’t NZ citizens. And there’s no indication that Key authorised anything.

    And timing is important, at the start of the investigation they may not have yet been citizens.

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  64. Francis_X (147 comments) says:

    “BeaB (1,322) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    The sooner we get rid of Dot Com out of our country the better. Do we really need people like him?”

    Well, yeah, actually we do. Time for you loony lefties Bea to realise we need foreign investment in this country. What we don’t need is James Bond wannabees spying on us because Uncle Sam has a bee in his bonnet about some issue.

    Never thought I’d say this, but this government is turning out to be more of a nanny state than the previous mob. What next, compiling dossiers on everyone who comments on blogs?

    Beab, you may think it’s ok to spy on citizens and NZ resident, but last time I looked, this weren’t Nth Korea. Over and out Comrade!

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  65. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    loony lefty! That’s the first time I have ever been called that!
    Even by a semi-literate!

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  66. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    PG

    *residents

    Dotcom was granted resident status in November 2010.

    GCSB investigations in question ran from 16 December 2011 until 20 January 2012.

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  67. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    What, so a foreign spy can come here and work with impunity as long as s/he becomes a resident. Wow more loony legilsation.

    Oh what a delemma. Side with dot com and get millions of “foreign” investment or side with Hollywood/Obama and get potentially Trillions….

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  68. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    English undermining Key? Repeating what he did with Brash by leaking the fateful e-mails?
    He did it once, did he do it twice?

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  69. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    Kevin (491) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    “…side with Hollywood/Obama and get potentially Trillions….”

    Really? We’re going to run with that number? Trillions? What’s the size of our economy again? :)

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  70. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    No, Manolo. By the time those sentences were uttered both Key and English would have known that the blame would be sheeted back to the police. What did you want Key to do? Did you want him to say he signed the papers himself?

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  71. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    Another bizarre sideshow on this – while in the house during Question Time today Clare Curran has several exchanges on Twitter, seeming to support a Mallard heckle that Key was lying, and also implying that Chris Finlayson was lying – Curran accuses Key of lying?

    Is Clare becoming paranoid? She told me recently she didn’t trust me (on unfounded grounds).

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  72. smttc (752 comments) says:

    Jesus, this thread is infected with cynics and conspiracy theorists. Not much sense apart from Paul Buchanan. Why don’t all you anti everythings wait for the IG report. I’ll bet now the whole thing subscribes more to the fuckup theory rather than the conspiracy theory.

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  73. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    “She told me recently she didn’t trust me”

    She may be a commie dropkick, but apparently she’s not a complete and utter dromgool.

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  74. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Shearer was pathetic at Question Time – as limp as usual. And looked as though he was copying Russell Norman by banging on about fireworks! What made them think that would work?
    The two fatties, Robertson and Chauvel, then tried their limp best but really, Key and his ministers wiped the floor with them to the point that Damien O’Connor was reduced to swearing impotently at them!
    Hilarious.

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  75. Francis_X (147 comments) says:

    “loony lefty! That’s the first time I have ever been called that!
    Even by a semi-literate!”

    Um, my writing style went right over your head, eh? Think about it, Beab.

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  76. Francis_X (147 comments) says:

    “smttc (333) Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Jesus, this thread is infected with cynics and conspiracy theorists.”

    +1

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  77. Yoza (1,873 comments) says:

    “Jesus, this thread is infected with cynics and conspiracy theorists.”

    The NZ police conspired with the FBI and the GCSB to spy on (illegally it turns out), arrest and extradite Dotcom to the US to face criminal proceedings.

    Calling something a ‘conspiracy theory’ does not diminish the appearance that there was an attempt by the Key regime in collusion with New Zealand tax-payer funded agencies to ingratiate themselves to a US policy agenda tailored to augment the profit motives of massive US media corporations. That such an activity has made cynics out of so many posters on Kiwiblog should come as no surprise to anyone.

    The pitiful attempt to fob off the whole affair as a police cock up reeks of desperate buck passing.

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  78. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    The herald has Dotcoms gaining residency in Dec 10. Fourth to last paragraph in this article
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10836388

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  79. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    yoza- yeah the mainstream media seems to have accepted the buck passing excuse this far too.The GSCB were spying on KimDotCom and so had no idea he was now a resident yet didnt then check his visa details to see when he had to depart by… Il be intrigued to hear how that can be explained away. Most people get 6months and then have to go.

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  80. chiz (1,144 comments) says:

    Weihana:Another argument is that service providers are not necessarily responsible for how users use that service just as Youtube isn’t responsible for the unauthorized copyrighted content it hosts.

    But that isn’t the accusation that is being made about Dotcom. The US claims that Dotcom and other people ate megaupload WERE aware of some of the illegal material on their system and, deliberately, did not remove all of it. The US even had quotes from private emails to back up this claim.

    When I read the indictment I wondered how they had obtained the emails. Perhaps we’ve just found out?

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  81. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    My suspicions have been proved correct about the Poice misinformation to the GCSB (whether deliberate or by mistake) but the question is about the granting of residency. I understand that Dotcom arrived in country in December 2010 and received permanent residency in September or November 2011 (sorry, the government data is inconclusive, which is a worry in of itself). The MSM reports that the GCSB wiretaps started in late December 2011 and ended on the day of the raids, Januuary 20, 2012.

    If the reporting is true, that opens multiple cans of worms.

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  82. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    PGB But the fireworks were on 31st Dec 2010 so his residency was approved by then as that is why he paid for the fireworks. The Herald also has it as Dec 2010 for his residency approval which ive linked above

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  83. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    Martinh:

    My understanding is that he arrived in NZ in December 2010 under the “Investor Plus” scheme and threw the fireworks party to celebrate his arrival. His application for permanent residency was processed after his arrival–which is unusual but his investor plus status gave him some privileges–and there were concerns raised about his character and criminal convictions during that process. Residency was eventually granted in Sept or November of 2011 (again, I am unclear on the exact date), although he was not allowed to buy his house in Coatsville because of those “chraracter” concerns. I do not know much about the status of the other individuals during this period of time.

    It is plausible that the GCSB were invited to “listen in” as late as December 2011 as the raids were being prepared, but if so that would indicate gross negligence or deliberate misleading on the Police’s part with regard to the residency status of Dotcom and his pals, as well as negligence on the GCSB’s part in not independently verifying their residency status (as presumably would be a matter of course for an intelligence agency–triangulation of sources is one of the basic axioms of intelligence work, even if those sources are friendly).

    The only valid reason for the GCSB to get involved would be that Dotcom and co. were not permanent residents at the time the wiretaps were requested. If I am correct in my reading of the timeline, that would have to be the period December 2010-September 2011. Even then, the case was a law enforcement matter, not a national security concern, so the justification for tasking the GCSB would have to be based on matters of national and international security. Currying favor with US law enforcement authorities, or even the State Department, is not one of them.

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  84. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    As the dust settles we see GCSB effectively running a ‘we didn’t know’ he was a permanent resident. At face value they admit a bizarre incompetency until the amount of time is considered before the Court was told, or even it seems the PM. Whether the claim of GCSB is true or not that doesn’t explain why throughout this entire year it took them something like 6 months to acknowledge their wrong doing. I’m afraid the belated confession dis-colours the credibility of their ‘we didn’t know.’

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  85. martinh (1,257 comments) says:

    Their approach mirrors John Banks

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