The Dim-Post

May 21, 2014

The Campbell Live GCSB story

Filed under: intelligence — danylmc @ 12:14 pm

Is here. The Standard provides a timeline here. I did my own GCSB timeline a couple of years back, which is here.

A lot of the questions raised in the Campbell Live piece are ones we already knew. Why did Key shoulder-tap Ian Fletcher for the role of GCSB director? Why did he lie about it? Why did he pretend he barely knew Fletcher and had virtually no contact with him before the appointment when he met Fletcher for breakfast three weeks before Fletcher applied for the GCSB role?

The show revealed that Key had a secret meeting with Fletcher on the 12th of December 2011. This was after Fletcher had been appointed incoming head of GCSB but before he’d left his old job. The timing seems significant because a few days after that meeting the GCSB began its illegal surveillance of Kim Dotcom. Key has insisted he’d never heard of Dotcom until the raid on his house on January 20th, 2012. If anyone can prove this wasn’t the case then Key will have intentionally mislead Parliament and the public many, many times.

Campbell Live also ties in meetings between Key and our intelligence chiefs with (a) a March 2011 meeting with James Clapper, head US Intelligence and (b) the improved ties between the US and New Zealand. The narrative is that Clapper’s visit and Fletcher’s appointment signalled a shift in the focus of our intelligence agency away from military and security issues and towards intellectual property and trade issues, and that the operation against Kim Dotcom was a key moment in that shift.

But Kim Dotcom is only one of 88 instances of illegal spying that we know about, and the GCSB were, presumably, also conducting some surveillance that wasn’t against the law. Kim Dotcom is their only operation we’re aware of so I think there’s a temptation to build narratives around him. If we didn’t know about Dotcom and instead knew, say, that the GCSB had illegally spied on New Zealand based friends and relatives of Daryl Jones, the dual New Zealand/Australian citizen assassinated in a drone strike in Yemen in November 2013 (there’s no evidence this happened but it’s not unlikely) then we’d be looking at it all very differently and try to find meaning in Fletcher’s appointment there.

Because Fletcher’s appointment is weird. Why did Key shoulder-tap this guy with no background in intelligence to be head of our signals intelligence agency and then repeatedly lie about it? Even if you don’t buy into the Campbell Live narrative and – like DPF – think its all an absurd conspiracy theory, that’s still a pretty relevant question.

69 Comments »

  1. People have a built-in need to feel that there is sense in what happens in the world, and we’ll make a story for why events happen even where there isn’t sufficient evidence to really know.

    Comment by WH — May 21, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

  2. while there is a lot of dot joining going on with this one, it does seem like its gotten to the point where every denial/explanation just points to an earlier statement or action by those involved suddenly not making sense

    Comment by framu — May 21, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

  3. I think we have to accept that for the past 10 years (at least) our government has been illegally spying on whomever it pleased. The lack of transparency is *designed* to conceal wrong-doing. We see this every day in the US, UK and in Canada, too. The secrecy is about protecting the abuse of power……not the legitimate security of the country.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — May 21, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

  4. @WH People have a built-in need to feel that there is sense in what happens in the world…

    Of course, the PM repeatedly lying about something is not quite in the same league as some inexorable, natural catastrophe that defies rationale explanation. Such as “why did my house get run-over by a tornado whereas my neighbour’s was spared.”

    The PM lying to us is not the sort of event where we can just shrug our shoulders and say “better luck next time”. The PM is not the anthropomorphism of a natural phenomena, like Thor say, the PM is actually a real person whom we can and should hold to account.

    Comment by RJL — May 21, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

  5. @ WH #1: Apophenia.

    Because Fletcher’s appointment is weird.

    Not if you follow the logic from your previous statement wrt the appointment being appropriate for a “change in focus away from military and security issues and towards intellectual property and trade issues” given Fletcher’s background, and accept that Key is a habitual liar rather than being particularly sinister.

    Or for the alternative tinfoil-hat theory, not if Fletcher’s actual job in the UK Civil Service had absolutely nothing at all to do with the Patent Office.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 21, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

  6. Gregor W: “…accept that Key is a habitual liar rather than being particularly sinister.

    “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear” cuts both ways. If Key had nothing to fear us knowing, he wouldn’t be lying.

    Comment by RJL — May 21, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

  7. If Key had nothing to fear us knowing, he wouldn’t be lying.

    I don’t think pseudologia fantastica works that way…

    Comment by Gregor W — May 21, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

  8. Ministers irrespective of party take extreme care about statements they make that might later be construed as lies or not truthful, especially when those statements are being made in the House. For PMs irrespective of party that care is much greater because of the level of scrutiny they are under. The idea that Helen Clark or John Key or any other recent PM was or is a frequent or knowing liar is complete crap. There are many issues on which they are evasive for a whole range of reasons – security, confidential information, being in the middle of a policy process etc – but evasion and lying are very different things. Only juveniles think otherwise.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 21, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

  9. Tthe New Zealand intelligence establishment operates as a deep state that is unresponsive to democratic control and direction. When confronted with this deep state, senior New Zealand politicians have always shy away from consequences of confronting it, and instead chosen to collaborate with a lesser or greater degree of enthusiasm in order to maintain the fiction they are in control – lesser with, say, a Lange to an over-weaning Quisling-like greater enthusiasm from Key.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 21, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

  10. Gregor W “I don’t think pseudologia fantastica works that way…”

    So…”our PM is mentally ill” explains away any attempt to hold him accountable for anything he has said on any subject?

    Comment by RJL — May 21, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

  11. “lesser with, say, a Lange to an over-weaning Quisling-like greater enthusiasm from Key.”

    Very hard to support this comparative assertion when the intelligence relationship was the only part of the NZ US defence relationship to survive the ANZUS break up intact.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 21, 2014 @ 5:24 pm

  12. So…”our PM is mentally ill” explains away any attempt to hold him accountable for anything he has said on any subject?

    Of course not, RJL. I was jesting.

    I must admit though, Tinakori’s faith in the finer points of evasion versus lying is touchingly sweet. Key has been caught out telling what the casual observer would discern to be either pretty egregious porkies or alternatively, demonstrates that he suffers from some form of degenerative brain disease which should render him unfit for office.

    He’s not alone in this behavior by any means in the political fraternity, but it takes a wide eyed innocence to accept that he’s not an hedger, prevaricator or – dare I say it – liar when it suits him, knowing that the weight of his position and personal popularity provides him with a degree of cover than us mere mortals could never furnish.

    It comes with the office, but let’s not pretend the behavior doesn’t exist.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 21, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

  13. a deep state

    Now this is cool. So cool I think a red pill is in order.

    Comment by Tom Hunter — May 21, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

  14. Campbell has cooked up conspiracy theories before and this is just another one.

    He’s made allegations with no proof which would at anytime would be very warring but especially so in an election year.

    He’s made it clear he’s campaigning against Key and in the same manner he attached Clark.

    Comment by NeilM — May 21, 2014 @ 6:08 pm

  15. @Tom Hunter: I expect pretty much every Sanc comment to end with WAKE UP SHEEPLE

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 21, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

  16. Obama does attract the conspiracy theorists. He took time out from fabricating his birth certificate to engineer Fletcher’s appointment.

    Comment by NeilM — May 21, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

  17. …it takes a wide eyed innocence to accept that he’s not an hedger, prevaricator or – dare I say it – liar…

    Seems to be wall-to-wall wide-eyed innocents over at Kiwiblog. Who’d have thought all those aggressive self-made men would turn out to be such ingenues?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — May 21, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

  18. Campbell’s fevered imaginings aside, that there’s been a rapprochement between NZ and the US on security issues is hardly news.

    It started under Clark with Bush and has contuinued with Key and Obama.

    That’s not welcomed by people like Hager and Campbell and they can argue against it if they want but miring NZ politics in paranoid rubbish is really bad for political discourse. I think at least.

    Comment by NeilM — May 21, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

  19. No one is suggesting that Neil.

    What is being suggested is that Key knew more about KDC, earlier than he has let on.

    The shift in focus for GCSB is a policy matter than is fine for a government to change. The reason it has become an issue is simply because the story around it, including the appointment of Fletcher, has been revised in light of facts discovered.

    The only ‘conspiracy’ being suggested is that Key knew more than he has said.

    Why would he hide that knowledge?

    Because it all turned a bit cock-up, and if he didn’t know anything at all about it, then it reflects less on his management. He was able to say that yes there was a stuff up, but he didn’t know about it before it was known to be a stuff up. Which is politically much easier to deal with.

    Now it may be that it can’t be proved Key knew. That it can’t be proved that KDC was mentioned in any of these meetings that were happening in the time before Fletcher’s appointment, and when the surveillance was taking place.

    It all could be coincidence, to sit alongside the coincidences involved in Key not finding about the warrant the acting PM signed (when the GCSB was trying to keep its involvement out of the courts), and the slide he didn’t see on GCSB tour, and the immigration issue, and the electorate office stuff. All just things that happened in a way that key never found out a thing about KDC.

    But that lack of proof just means we have to make our own calls about what we reckon. Which of the theories is more plausible? The string of coincidences, or a lie about one piece of knowledge?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 21, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

  20. “evasion and lying are very different things” – yes they are. Plenty of Prime Ministers have understandably evaded questions about security by simply refusing to answer.

    However, I cant think of any others who have outright lied on television. And just look at the guy’s face when he’s doing it. Where’s the motivation to make yourself that uncomfortable? You can see why people might be trying to make some sense of that. The Transrail shares were much simpler.

    Comment by Sacha — May 21, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

  21. “Why did Key shoulder-tap this guy”
    Maybe because Fletcher is not stupid? Its a tough labour market out there. Really.

    Comment by Grant — May 21, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

  22. “…Why would he hide that knowledge..?”

    Because you’ve got a government that agreed to American requests to use surveillance laws justified by the threat of Al Qaeda and terrorism to spy on domestic threats to US copyright law. If it was obvious that Key hand-picked a new spy chief whose skill set reflected that change in emphasis – from military spy warrior looking for people trying to make bombs to intellectual property snoop rifling through everyone’s virtual underwear looking for illegal downloads on behalf of Hollywood – then people might start to ask question about the justification for all the shiny new spy laws our spooks have been given.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 21, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

  23. Now it may be that it can’t be proved Key knew

    It may be that it can’t be proved that Campbell hasn’t been bought by kim.com.

    But i think a reputable journalist wouldn’t make the claim without evidence.

    Comment by NeilM — May 21, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

  24. “…But i think a reputable journalist wouldn’t make the claim without evidence….”

    Nice try at a straw man, but Campbell didn’t make that claim. He just asked a reasonable audience to draw it’s own conclusions.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 21, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

  25. It may be that it can’t be proved that Campbell hasn’t been bought by kim.com.

    Is anyone else suggesting he has?

    Do you have some evidence, any at all, for this conspiracy theory Neil? Is there some strange string of events or changing stories to be explained there?

    Campbell is a journalist. Part of that is asking questions. Is it wrong to question the PMs behaviour in cases where there seem to be a large number of convenient coincidences?

    Seriously. This isn’t a court where the PM walks if there is reasonable doubt. There is no ‘innocent til proven guilty’ when it comes to the trust we place in the intelligence community. It isn’t illegitimate to not extend the benefit of the doubt to a PM around this sort of stuff. especially when they have had to change their story regarding illegal spying on their watch. I’d say the ‘doubt benefits’ get pretty cut back at that point.

    You might be comfortable with everything that’s happened based on your dislike of Campbell, (which is pretty weird way of judging things to me), but it doesn’t make it disreputable for others to ask questions.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 21, 2014 @ 9:00 pm

  26. Campbell is pushing his own political agenda just like he did when he attacked Clark.

    He’s not a journalist he’s a political activist. An NZ version of Pilger.

    And no, I don’t have any evidence that he was bought by kim.com, that was my point. Allegations should be based on evidence. And just as we saw with corngate Campbell has no evidence.

    Comment by NeilM — May 21, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

  27. Yep join the dots people. They form a graph showing that Campbell is Dot.com’s latest bitch.

    Comment by Simon — May 21, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

  28. Are you defining evidence as ‘conclusive proof’ or some weird thing like that Neil?

    Are saying there are no reasons to doubt Key’s version of the story?

    (the latest version that is, not the one where SSC recommended Fletcher for the job etc etc, we know that one is false.)

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 21, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

  29. Evidence implies a causal relationship. Campbell shilling for kim.com isn’t evidence that Campbell has been bought. Just presenting a set of circumstances is not evidence.

    After two years of “investigative journalism” all Campbell has is a set of mendacious quetions that just happen to suit his political agenda.

    Comment by NeilM — May 21, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

  30. Verily, Neil, no evidence can shake your faith. Bound to be some reward in the afterlife for your service to truthiness.

    Comment by Sacha — May 21, 2014 @ 10:38 pm

  31. Decisions Decisions.
    Should I be impressed and back the presentation of opinions as expressed by NeilM
    OR Should I be impressed and back the presentation of opinions as expressed by Campbell Live? Mmm.
    One has facts and figures which can be verified. The other just sort of wobbles his prejudice posing as justification for PM support. Mmmm?
    John Campbell wins 10/1

    Comment by xianmac — May 21, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

  32. NeilM knows a fair bit about shilling

    Comment by Rob — May 21, 2014 @ 10:58 pm

  33. Penny wise, pound foolish.

    Comment by Sacha — May 21, 2014 @ 10:59 pm

  34. Wall Street and Hawaii are natural homes to key . He will always obey Wall Street. NZ means nothing to him.

    a glum childhood in Kilbirnie is bound to encourage a “step change” to equality with Australian wages?

    How? Childhood fantasy.

    We will mine the conservation estate and the sea bed.

    Key and the Nats are delusional Wall street fuckwits.

    Mining and oil exploration are very high risk and very expensive. NZ is not a good prospect unless there is a Wall Street fuckwit (and Brownlee, our Finnish expert.) running the place.

    Key will cut a deal that screws NZ and he will retire to his Hawaiian home leaving us to sort out the mess he made.

    Key is a USA puppet guided by Crosby Textor.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — May 21, 2014 @ 11:25 pm

  35. @peter: Are you going for some kind of record?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 22, 2014 @ 12:30 am

  36. “28.Evidence implies a causal relationship.”

    eh? Have a close look at those timlines linked to in the post. How likely is it that all those things are happenning at the same time, involving the same people, in the order they happened, and yet had nothing to do with each other?

    Circumstantial evidence, is actually evidence. It’s right there in the phrase, Neil!

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 22, 2014 @ 5:22 am

  37. But I would be keen to hear your stuff that somehow implies a causal relationship that proves Campbell isn’t a journalist though. That’s what you hang your argument on. None of these events are questionable apparently ‘because John Campbell’.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 22, 2014 @ 5:26 am

  38. Campbell is pushing his own political agenda just like he did when he attacked Clark.

    He’s not a journalist he’s a political activist. An NZ version of Pilger.

    So … the fact that Campbell has strongly questioned both Helen Clark and John Key is evidence that he has a “political agenda” and serves as a “political activist” rather than a journalist? Looks more to me that he’s an equal opportunity quizzer of whoever the PM of the day happens to be.

    (Also, your “Campbell is just out to get Key” theory rather overlooks this: http://www.3news.co.nz/At-Home-with-the-Leaders-John-and-Bronagh-Key/tabid/817/articleID/339169/Default.aspx)

    And anyway – what’s up with using John Pilger as a negative comparator?

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 22, 2014 @ 7:46 am

  39. It turned turned out though that the conspiracy cooked up by Campbell and Hager about Clark and Labour had no substance. Campbell did that infamous ambush interview when he didn’t have the evidence he claimed to have.

    And he’s done the same now.

    I don’t consider that to holding politicians to account.

    I dont normally criticize the media, tending to think that whatever biases there balance out.

    Campbell can front up with evidenced if he wants, until then it’s all just speculation.

    It’s not necessarily a defense of Key, I said much the same when he attacked Clark.

    Comment by NeilM — May 22, 2014 @ 8:26 am

  40. @NeilM “Just presenting a set of circumstances is not evidence.”

    Yes it is. It is circumstantial evidence.

    It’s difficult (but not impossible) to convict in a court on circumstantial evidence alone. But this is (not yet!) a legal matter. At the moment there is merely factual evidence that Key has lied, and plenty of circumstantial evidence that point to possibilities about why/what he is lying about.

    My favourite explanation, at the moment, is that Key signed off on the Dotcom surveillance and/or raids (and maybe other illegal activities). Probably this was done in ignorance of the fact that the Dotcom surveillance was illegal. Then when it became apparent that the Dotcom surveillance was actually illegal (or alternatively that it was going to be discovered), whatever Key signed off was shredded and the whole shambles was blamed on Hugh Wolfensohn (GCSB’s legal officer; who may well have provided dodgy advice to the PM in the first place, but isn’t responsible for the PM following that advice). The point of the whole “conspiracy” is just to protect Key from needing to take responsibility (i.e. resign).

    Fletcher’s appointment itself just seems to reflect a change in NSA/GCSB priorities, combined with National’s usual sloppiness in following appointment processes. The only real issues that might motivate some secrecy here is around precisely how beholden to the NSA the GCSB should be, and (in light of Snowden et al) whether NSA priorities / methods are what we have been led to believe. However, the main reason for secrecy here is probably merely that Fletcher was present when Key signed off on Dotcom (but not present in an official capacity as he had not yet officially started his job); hence the motivation for Key and Fletcher being opaque about precisely when and why they met. It is also possible (but not necessary) that the Dotcom operation was originally envisaged as a kind of triumphal showcase to signal internally the way that GCSB was changing with the beginning of Fletcher’s tenure.

    Comment by RJL — May 22, 2014 @ 8:33 am

  41. Campbell can front up with evidenced if he wants, until then it’s all just speculation.

    But he has fronted with evidence that Key has lied by omission and been economical with the truth. Surely it’s up to the PM to explain why he’s behaved so badly. He apparently gave Judith Collins a good talking to over similar behaviour. So, who gives him a good talking to?

    Comment by Ross — May 22, 2014 @ 8:42 am

  42. He hasn’t “lied by omission”.

    He has simply lied. He has said stuff to the public via media that he knew at the time not to be true. Have to wonder who taught the guy right from wrong.

    Comment by Sacha — May 22, 2014 @ 8:45 am

  43. Campbell can front up with evidenced [sic] if he wants, until then it’s all just speculation.

    Sure. No-one is claiming that Campbell has proven anything. In fact, he hasn’t even expressly claimed anything. He’s just outlined a series of events (none of which, I note, have been denied) and put these up against John Key’s previous account(s) of what happened.

    But your approach seems to be “I don’t like John Campbell (or Nicky Hager, or John Pilger), so I don’t have to even think about what Campbell is saying.” Fine. You’ve said this about half-a-dozen times now. It’s boring.

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 22, 2014 @ 8:49 am

  44. @RJL – I think Occam’s razor would agree with your second paragraph. “…National’s usual sloppiness…” also extends to Key’s sign off. One thing we’ve learnt about Key is he has contempt for the values and checks and balances of our political system ( he seems to prefer a heroic style of leadership where masters of the universe like himself get together and make things happen). that would explain his lack of curiosity/sloppiness over checking that what he was signing off on was legal or not.

    My view is the really sinister scandal lies in your third paragraph. As you say, the GCSB has been significantly re-tasked with internal surveillance of the general public at the request of the United States by a government whose eager willingness to do so amounts to a collaboratist regime selling out of our sovereignty. This re-tasking is also serious perversion of the justifications given by governments of both stripes for such powerfully invasive surveillance laws. How many people would have supported the changes to surveillance laws if the real reason for them was simply to protect US copyright?

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 22, 2014 @ 8:51 am

  45. @RJL

    At the moment there is merely factual evidence that Key has lied,

    No there isn’t. Campbell spent years and could not come up with evidence of that. No one has been able to produce any evidence that Key knew KDC before when he claimed.

    I’ve seen people claim that that’s unlikely but that’s an opinion. To claim someone lied I think should require actual proof that it’s a lie.

    Comment by NeilM — May 22, 2014 @ 8:53 am

  46. “To claim someone lied I think should require actual proof that it’s a lie.”

    What would that look like?

    Key claimed SSC put Fletcher’s name to him. That turned out to be just plain false. Key claims he was mistaken about that. Given all those meetings, don;t you think an honest mistake theory is kind of far fetched?

    If someone says ‘I was mistaken’ how can possibly you ‘prove’ it was a lie? And why should that be the standard?

    As far as I can tell you are just hating on hippies, or whatever. Coz you’re not making any real sense.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — May 22, 2014 @ 9:09 am

  47. To claim someone lied I think should require actual proof that it’s a lie.

    Well NeilM, the test of whether the accusation was an egregious fabrication would be for Key to launch a tort for defamation against Campbell and TV3.

    I wait with baited breath.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 22, 2014 @ 9:11 am

  48. Campbell spent years and could not come up with evidence of that. No one has been able to produce any evidence that Key knew KDC before when he claimed.

    Right. No one has yet proven this, and if anyone ever can, Key will have to resign. But that is a pretty narrow ground on which to judge the matter.

    Because the programme did call into severe question Key’s account(s) of events, as well as recounted various points in the past where Key’s statements about events were untrue (whether deliberate lies or “brainfarts” is then a point for debate). As Russell Brown summarises its content:

    The most interesting of them was that in December 2011, incoming GCSB director Ian Fletcher took leave from his job in Queensland and flew to Wellington for meetings with John Key, acting GCSB boss Simon Murdoch and Hugh Wolfenson, the GCSB legal advisor who later took the fall and resigned over the agency’s illegal spying on Dotcom.

    These meetings took place in the same week that the surveillance of Dotcom began, but we continue to be told that neither Key or Fletcher had any advance knowledge of the surveillance operation or the raid. Key has said he did not know who Dotcom was until the day before the raid and up till now we’ve thought that Fletcher only came into the picture when he officially started at the GCSB 10 days after the raid.

    The programme also went back over the series of misleading statements Key has made over his relationshp with Fletcher and the circumstances of Fletcher’s recruitment.

    But apparently in NeilM land, none of this is important or worthy of discussion or interesting in any way, shape or form. Only once the media has absolute, concrete, irrefutable proof of anything should it address an issue. Because … John Pilger, or something.

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 22, 2014 @ 9:13 am

  49. @NeilM “No one has been able to produce any evidence that Key knew KDC before when he claimed.”

    You are completely right that there is only (so far) circumstantial evidence that Key has lied about his knowledge of Dotcom.

    However, there is factual evidence that Key’s initial statements about Fletcher’s appointment process were lies. That was what I meant.

    Comment by RJL — May 22, 2014 @ 9:18 am

  50. also flashing light – neil is focusing on KDC – but the actual lies by key that eveyone else is talking about is centered around fletcher

    Comment by framu — May 22, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  51. @framu,

    Agreed. I thought that’s what I was saying, too?

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 22, 2014 @ 9:33 am

  52. @Sanctuary “As you say, the GCSB has been significantly re-tasked with internal surveillance of the general public at the request of the United States…”

    Perhaps. We just don’t know precisely what they have been tasked with and by whom. Certainly the GCSB has the technical capability to undertake something of this ilk (via NSA developed tools) and since the 2013 legislative changes to their act they have had the legal capability to do this.

    And there doesn’t seem much point in having technical and legal capabilities which you don’t intend to use either now or sometime in the future.

    Comment by RJL — May 22, 2014 @ 9:40 am

  53. But it’s Key’s claim that wasn’t aware of KDC before the raid that is the prime component to Campbell’s allegations. To quote from Danyl’s post:

    Key has insisted he’d never heard of Dotcom until the raid on his house on January 20th, 2012. If anyone can prove this wasn’t the case then Key will have intentionally mislead Parliament and the public many, many times

    If he didn’t know then there’s no story.

    Comment by NeilM — May 22, 2014 @ 9:54 am

  54. If he didn’t know then there’s no story.

    That’s one way to define the problem out of existence … “unless the precise narrow thing that I deem relevant is proven beyond all reasonable doubt, then nothing must be said on the issue whatsoever.” Conveniently allows us to ignore the whole Fletcher side of things and thus not have to confront the fact that Key has a pattern of making false statements in this area. Nice rhetorical move, NeilM!

    Furthermore, as has been pointed out numerous times in the thread (but you seem to ignore), the issue of “proof” is difficult here. We are inquiring into Key’s subjective state of mind. He may very well be lying about that state of mind. So in order to judge whether we think he is lying or not lying, we must measure his claims about his state of mind against those external events that we know happened in the world and ask “how credible is it that these things happened, yet Key did not know of Dotcom?”

    Campbell’s programme provides a recap of the reasons that we might have reason to believe that Key lied (and is lying), as well as added some more facts that may strengthen that belief. But has he given absolute, cast iron proof that he lied (and is lying)? No. But that’s not what journalism is about, and if you insist that it is … well, you’re just wrong.

    Comment by Flashing Light — May 22, 2014 @ 10:14 am

  55. @NeilM “But it’s Key’s claim that wasn’t aware of KDC before the raid that is the prime component to Campbell’s allegations…”

    Campbell hasn’t alleged anything. He has presented circumstantial evidence (some new some old) which seems inconsistent with Key’s Dotcom knowledge claims, and has presented factual evidence (mostly already known) that Key has lied about elements peripheral to Key’s claim; such as the process around Fletcher’s appointment.

    Key is totally capable of fronting with a different explanation for the circumstantial evidence and to explain his known lies. So far, he seems to be claiming that “mistakes/mental incapacity” explain his known lies and that the circumstantial evidence is just a lot of unfortunate coincidences. He might be right about the later, but the former is almost certainly another lie.

    Comment by RJL — May 22, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  56. “…We just don’t know precisely what they have been tasked with and by whom….”

    When referring to the timeline provided in the link to The Standard by Danyl above, it is worth tying it into the timelines of the various “full-spectrum” components of Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” – https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42448.pdf

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 22, 2014 @ 10:24 am

  57. No. But that’s not what journalism is about, and if you insist that it is … well, you’re just wrong.

    The problem I have though with Campbell is that he tried to build a complex narrative of cover up and influnce by the Obama administration on the basis of these alleged lies Key.

    That I think puts a particular onis on him to prove Key lied. If he can’t then there’s no justification for the broader and more serious claims he’s making.

    Campbell has in the past let his personal political beliefs override his professional judgement.

    Comment by NeilM — May 22, 2014 @ 10:26 am

  58. If he didn’t know then there’s no story.

    Putting the ‘idiot’ in ‘useful idiot’ since ages ago.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 22, 2014 @ 10:26 am

  59. Flashing Light — May 22, 2014 @ 9:33 am – yeah, sorry, could have worded that better. Was meant more as a point for everyone to note. Not really directed at you personally.🙂

    Comment by framu — May 22, 2014 @ 10:28 am

  60. Campbell hasn’t alleged anything.

    He’s alleging broader skulduggery involving Obama, nefarious US intervention etc.

    Comment by NeilM — May 22, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  61. neil – if you cant see the lies from key now, you never will

    does key have a bit of a history with either fibbing, fudging or winging it? – yes
    do keys multiple statements regarding ian fletcher contradict both themselves and the factual record to a point where serious questions need to be answered? – yes

    Comment by framu — May 22, 2014 @ 10:33 am

  62. Over at Penguin central the ninth floor has clearly decided that trying to pretend Campbell Live never happened isn’t working.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 22, 2014 @ 11:38 am

  63. @framu

    I very rarely accuse politicians of lying. Even at my most hostile towards Labour I think I only ever accused Carter of lying. I don’t think I’ve ever accused the Greens of lying.

    Campbell asked some questions but proposed answers that were not substantiated and happened to fit his political beliefs. That’s no investigative journalism.

    Comment by NeilM — May 22, 2014 @ 11:46 am

  64. “I very rarely accuse politicians of lying” – yes, your struggling with that even now

    Comment by framu — May 22, 2014 @ 11:59 am

  65. twisting and turning like a twisty turny thing..

    Comment by Sacha — May 22, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

  66. Why is anyone surprised by Key’s actions? He has seen how Obama handles VA scandals, IRS scandals, DOJ scandals, etc etc and figured that it works just sweet to pretend that he only just read about it in the news and he is shocked and concerned until his next gold round with Obama.

    Comment by Scerb — May 23, 2014 @ 7:37 am

  67. Neil,

    enough with all these political shenanigans – just tell me this – at Key Mansion does he drink from the bottle or the glass and is it trunks or speedos?

    Comment by Mag Rod Aigh — May 23, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

  68. He drinks dressed only in a hint of Givenchy

    Comment by NeilM — May 23, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

  69. @NeilM: “Campbell’s fevered imaginings aside, that there’s been a rapprochement between NZ and the US on security issues is hardly news.

    It started under Clark with Bush and has contuinued with Key and Obama.”

    Rapprochement? The relationship between NZ and US regarding security matters has continued uninterrupted from before the diplomatic freeze over the anti-nuclear issue right through to the present. The thaw that we all saw beginning at the time of the Clark administration was simply the overt diplomatic stuff.

    But what’s happened with Fletcher’s appointment is different. It looks like either a shift of focus to copyright breaches (driven by Hollywood’s pressure on the Obama administration), or at the least a broadening of focus to include the copyright issues.

    Comment by D'Esterre — May 24, 2014 @ 3:55 pm


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