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State Of It: The PM & The GCSB – Why Someone Like Sir Anand Satyanand Must Lead An Independent Inquiry

Published By   /   November 15, 2012  /   Comments Off

State Of It: The PM & The GCSB – Why Someone Like Sir Anand Satyanand Must Lead An Independent Inquiry

Selwyn Manning – http://livenews.co.nz/2012/10/state-of-it-the-pm-the-gcsb-why-someone-like-sir-anand-satchinand-must-lead-an-independent-inquiry/

State Of It: The PM & The GCSB – Why Someone Like Sir Anand Satyanand Must Lead An Independent Inquiry

The Audio: Selwyn Manning and 95bFM’s Simon Maude discuss how, despite earlier statements to the contrary, the Prime Minister, John Key, insists in February he was told but not briefed about the GCSB’s illegal spying of Kim Dotcom and his team.


Clearly on this issue the Prime Minister is in a tight spot. When one considers the difference between being told or being briefed on an issue of contention, there is absolutely no wiggle-room left for a politician, let alone a prime minister, to save his or her bacon. (Click here for the PM’s statement.)

In this case, what’s at risk is Prime Minister John Key’s credibility.

This issue of the Prime Minister stating he cannot remember being “told” of the GCSB’s surveillance of Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom is remarkable.

This is especially so when one considers how short was the time-span between the Police raids on the Dotcom Mansion being broadcast on our television screens, plastered on the front page of every daily newspaper in the country, and the Prime Minister being told about the surveillance. John Key says he cannot recall receiving a brief where the GCSB used its operation against Dotcom – demonstrated both verbally and visually while he visited GCSB’s HQ at Defence House in Wellington – as a demonstration of how the GCSB can cooperate operationally with the Police.

If it is true that he cannot remember, then it is simply extraordinary and begs the question: as minister in charge of New Zealand’s security intelligence agencies is John Key too relaxed for the role, is he too inattentive, is he too casual, and is he too indifferent to the serious role of office he enjoys presiding over the GCSB, the Security Intelligence Service, and the National Assessments Bureau.

When one considers it on such terms, John Key’s personal charm, his popular appeal, is irrelevant when it comes to matters of public, and national security interest. When weighed against these issues, a prime minister must be attentive, have a talent for detail, and have the gravitas to create a culture of accountability. What we have seen from John Key on this scandal is a case of too little, too late.

The question remains: is John Key competent to the task? Or, is he incompetent?

Then there’s the question: Did the Police move to cover up the GCSB’s illegal surveillance?

Did the GCSB and the Police move to cover up the latter’s incorrect statement under oath to the High Court?

Remember the Police officer in charge of the Dotcom operation denied any other entity was involved with surveillance, that the Police alone conducted surveillance within the Dotcom operation. He was specifically asked if another agency was involved in this regard. He responded to the High Court with a categorical no.

Within weeks of this nonfactual response while under oath, the GCSB sought a suppression order by way of a ministerial certificate from the acting Prime Minister Bill English. The suppression order was worded so it would prevent the Police or the GCSB from revealing to the High Court that the spy agency was indeed involved in surveillance.

The acting Prime Minister apparently unwittingly signed the suppression order while the Prime Minister was attending a baseball game involving his son and held in the United States. Was this an attempt by the authorities to cover up the illegal surveillance? Was this a move designed to cover up a perceived perjury by the Police officer in charge?

On this issue regarding the Police, the public is left to consider: was this a case of incompetence or corruption?

With regard to John Key it is different, it is a case of whether he is personally competent and whether his Government has integrity.

These are serious issues in play here that reflect the quality and standing of our operational agencies and government. They are not just important issues, they are pivotal to and indicative of the function, expression, and interaction between state and citizen.

It is vital that the public has confidence in its prime minister and the operational integrity, the impartiality of its law enforcement and security intelligence entities. For the public interest to be served, answers to the many unanswered questions (those above notwithstanding) must be determined. And the method and means of attaining the facts upon which to determine such answers must be led by an impartial respected independent inquirer.

Perhaps that leader is Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, KStJ, the former Governor General of New Zealand.

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  • Published: 1 year ago on November 15, 2012
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  • Last Modified: November 15, 2012 @ 10:25 pm
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