The Dim-Post

September 27, 2012

Flotsam or iceberg?

Filed under: crime,intelligence — danylmc @ 7:59 am

Graeme Edgeler overviews the extant issues in the Dotcom case and concludes:

is it a function of the Police to intercept the communications of people in respect of offences that they themselves cannot get interception warrants?

As a lawyer, I could comfortably argue that the actions of the GCSB, as I understand them to be, would have been with the scope of the GCSB Act had none of the Kim Dotcom and his colleagues been permanent residents.

People make mistakes. People misunderstand questions, or misunderstand the answers they are given to their questions. They assume other people have conducted the necessary checks, or obtained the right permissions. Such mistakes may rise to the level of incompetence, or even be criminal. We’ll get some information later in the week about how the the GCSB found themselves illegally intercepting the communications of a couple of New Zealand residents.

But short of someone in the GCSB acting as some sort of rogue agent, how that breach happened is not actually our biggest problem. The actions of the Police in using the GCSB as an end-run around laws we have put in place deliberately limiting police powers are of much greater concern.

It does seem to me that high profile cases involving police and intelligence gathering have a tendency to reveal either unethical behavior or downright illegality on the part of the authorities. To turn it all into a clumsy metaphor, I wonder if this is flotsam – ie when they’re dealing with a high profile case the complexity throws up uncharacteristic instances of poor judgment; or is this the tip of the ol’ iceberg: do the authorities break the laws around surveillance on a routine basis, but it only becomes apparent in high-profile cases involving clever lawyers, political oversight and media scrutiny?


  1. The cops are just the biggest gang in town; The security agencies are just terminally inept. Proceeding from that, it is easy to work out that the former will do whatever it takes to assert its patch power and the latter are so stupid they’ll go along with it.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 27, 2012 @ 8:28 am

  2. The latter:

    Comment by glasshead — September 27, 2012 @ 8:53 am

  3. In this country the police operate in an environment of almost total uncritical hagiography in the media and political sphere. Is it any wonder that they might be a lawless rabble when they know they almost always not just get away with it but will be praised for the result to boot?

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 27, 2012 @ 9:06 am

  4. It strikes me that all this happened in a period where the legailty and sense of the Urewera raids was well in the public eye and the timing lines up as well. The case against the 17 was dropped in late 2011 because the Supreme Court held the spying was illegal.. the same time that the alleged spying on Dotcom was undertaken.

    Effectively the police were in limbo with what was legal spying and that may have encouraged them to see “foreigners” rather than residents in the Dotcom spying.


    Comment by JC — September 27, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  5. I don’t know about the relationship with politicians but I do know that the media love pinging the police, whether or not it’s warranted, so there’s no ‘uncritical hagiography’ there, Sanctuary.

    I’m of two minds about the police cocking up the Urewera and Dotcom processes. It’s ridiculous that those who are trained to uphold the law while operating within the law have bungled it during two major operations; but also it’s a bit comforting to know that one of our biggest agencies doesn’t have the skills to clandestinely ignore tiny inconveniences such as legality without getting caught.

    Comment by Ataahua — September 27, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  6. Effectively the police were in limbo with what was legal spying and that may have encouraged them to see “foreigners” rather than residents in the Dotcom spying.

    I don’t think the Police would have been considering the Operation 8 rulings at all. It is more likely that the GCSB is better equipped to conduct the sort of electronic surveillance required than the Police were, and the Police didn’t particularly care about whether or not it would be appropriate/legal to ask.

    Comment by Vanilla Eis — September 27, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  7. “Let’s not be mistaken. The police are good. Criminals are bad. It really is that simple. We need to support our police, and not tie them up with endless bureaucracy.”

    (Louise Upston, National Whip, maiden speech to Parliament, 2008).

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 27, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  8. I wonder how Upston reconciles those instances when the courts determine that the police have acted criminally.
    Will cognitive dissonance eventually see her brain explode?

    Comment by Gregor W — September 27, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  9. how Upston reconciles those instances when the courts determine that the police have acted criminally

    ‘Silly lawyers, hobbling the police.’

    I’d wager that a majority of the National Party would see things the same way. (Not Collins; but her job is to change technicalities which safeguard rights and justice as presently defined. Just today she raised the bar on access to justice by increasing court fees substantially.)

    Comment by George D — September 27, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  10. and if dots couldn’t afford to defend himself as he is this wouldn’t have surfaced yeah?

    Comment by CnrJoe — September 27, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  11. Occams would come down pretty hard on the latter being correct…

    Comment by garethw — September 27, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  12. And the Chch light-fittings-looter with a learning difficulty? Didn’t he get a little “tickle-up” when he was apprehended? I’m thinking a tip of an iceberg, but perhpas a small-ish iceberg, not the entire artic icesheet. Or am I just being hopeful?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 27, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  13. Of course they knew he was a permanent resident.

    They bungle the majority of operations because there is always a part of the operations where they do something that is not kosher, and it all falls apart from there. I remember reading statistics in some credible piece of literature a few years ago that a lot of police officers are Freemasons. There’s also the political leaning of police officers (a lot of them vote for National).

    I’m sure there have been instances where officers have used their interest (as a Freemason or Conservative voter) to target specific people and to hush up actual crimes committed by other people they socialize with.

    Take for instance a child of a lawyer who is known by police for manufacturing class B narcotics and has had nothing done about it. This is a hypothetical illustration, granted, but is typical of our society in modern times and represents the injustice of the matrix. Of course it may not be known officially but they know it through social outings at pubs. They do something official with some of the information gathered while outside of work, but not always if the case happens to concern a crony.

    There’s also unfair targeting of former prisoners who have not even committed a crime for 20 or 30 years and yet have traffic cops, for example, spend a disproportionate amount of time surveying speeds in areas where they (the officers) know the former prisoners will be.

    Comment by Dan — September 27, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  14. Dan. Do you have proof of ANY of that paranoid bitter ramble? Is your surname Brown FFS?

    Comment by PPCM — September 27, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  15. The proof is on the news every night. There’s channel one, channel three, Prime News, …..

    There’s also my witness to certain shoddy practices. I haven’t pointed out any because of lack of concrete evidence but have put across a couple of examples which are standard in that a lot of people can identify with them.

    I may be dense when it comes to your attempt at castigation solely due to my view (an illustration of how immersed in the matrix you personally are), which is why I respectfully request an explanation as to why my surname could be Brown, when of course it is not.

    Comment by Dan — September 27, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  16. Happy to oblige Dan. Dan Brown is a fiction writer like yourself who ascribes various evils to the Freemasons.

    And I watch tv news too Dan. Can’t recall anything about the police and Freemasons, police and national voters, police and preferential treatment for lawyers children.

    The matrix i am proud to be part of is called “reality” Dan. Try it, you might like it.

    Comment by PPCM — September 27, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  17. Your reality seems to consist of a big legion of honest police officers that would never indulge in bad practices. That is not reality. The fiction ascribed on this thread is a watered down version of … you guessed it, reality.

    Comment by Dan — September 27, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

  18. Dan, you are a fruit loop tinfoil hat conspiracist – situation normal on the dimpost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Bob — September 27, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  19. Apparently the police did not know where dotcom was and enlisted the aid of gscb to find him.


    A tiny fleet nomadic rodent maybe difficult to find.

    Dotcom is hard to locate? .C’mon!

    A tiny fleet rodent does not live in very expensive mansions.

    A tiny fleet rodent does not advertise itself with half million dollar firework displays.

    Apparently our police did not notice.

    Apparently Michelle Boag did not notice.

    Apparently John Banks did not notice.

    Apparently a whole lot of other people (who should have known better) did not notice. (Boag and Banks are excused).

    dotcom should re-brand himself as Kilroy, the invisible man.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — September 27, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

  20. Dan. I never said that and never would. Of course there are bad cops….and bad doctors, nurses, lawyers, politicians. My point is, stick to facts. Don’t just make shit up and legitimize it by saying ” I read it somewhere”.

    Comment by PPCM — September 27, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

  21. Lol. Overdone it on the Freemasonry, I guess. Should have stuck to the second hand (but very true) accounts of police picking on specific ethnic groups.
    Did not make it up. Did read it. And believe it, but there’s a lot more to it than the basic outline in the book would suggest. Your local community officer may be a low level Freemason, for example, but it may not affect his job.

    Comment by Dan — September 27, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  22. @ peterlepaysan It’s a cool story isn’t it?

    “Where the fuck is dotcom??”

    “He’s at his big fucking house lol”

    “LOL, My bad, gonna get him meow, BRB”

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 27, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

  23. Regarding comment 2:

    “Both arresting officers were probationary officers with little experience …”

    That explains taking the teenagers into custody with one of them not matching the description and evidence on the other one being weak, however nothing can or should explain away the:
    1. More than 24 hours in the cell
    2. Lack of provision of toilet paper and other facilities (private sink, perhaps)
    3. Not giving them their right to speak to a lawyer
    4. Questions arise regarding how the search was conducted (were they given the opportunity for a female officer to conduct the search?)

    I guess we can take from this that either the police officers were incompetent, or the power has seeped into them faster than it did in the case of MP Bennett.

    Futhermore, were other local officers, those with adequate experience, so busy (or lacking in general) that it was impossible to pair each of the probationary officers with an experienced officer?

    Comment by Dan — September 27, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

  24. Note: I do believe that there are more than one “MP Bennetts”. I was referring to the one in the expensive (front) seat.

    Comment by Dan — September 27, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  25. According to the Neazor Report, “The information sought to be collected did not relate to the details or merits of his [Dotcom’s] dispute in the US. It was about where he was or might expected to be in New Zealand at a particular time.”

    So the police simply wanted to know where he was likely to be at any given time? Well, he resided in a fairly large house at 186 Mahoenui Valley Road. I wouldn’t have thought it was terribly onerous for police to keep tabs on his whereabouts without needing to approach the GCSB. All police had to do was ask John Banks where Dotcom was…talk about cracking a peanut with a sledgehammer.

    Comment by Ross — September 28, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  26. It’s worth remembering that in April 2010, Dotcom emailed his neighbours and invited them over for coffee (and cocaine). He doesn’t strike me as a particularly private or elusive character.

    Comment by Ross — September 28, 2012 @ 7:29 am

  27. Shit, I wish my neighbours invited me over for Cocaine more often.

    Comment by Phil — September 28, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  28. You should get a Freemason cop as a next door neighbour, Phil.

    Problem solved!

    Comment by Gregor W — September 28, 2012 @ 9:48 am

  29. At the risk of feeding the trolls, I support Dan’s assertions on Freemasons and police, although he did over-egg the pudding a bit. Mates with cops in their families have corroborated the influence of the sect on the police, particularly at senior levels. It is one reason why so few female officers rise above the rank of senior sergeant; the prerequisite is owning a penis and believing in a god.

    Comment by Will de Cleene — September 28, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

  30. Quite frankly Will, I think your and Dan’s view on the Police and Freemasonry is nothing but speculative internet bullshit of the highest order, born of fevered imaginings from hollywood script writers.

    Comment by Phil — September 28, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  31. That’s very interesting, Will. I guess it goes a long way towards proving that a lot more factors contribute towards some of the ills in society than the “Victorian morals epidemic” alluded to in some of the recent threads on this blog.

    Comment by Dan — September 28, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

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