It's Our Future http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz Kiwi Voices on the TPPA Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:06:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Amid Dirty Politics ‘Another Free Election Bites the Dust’? http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/amid-dirty-politics-another-free-election-bites-the-dust/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/amid-dirty-politics-another-free-election-bites-the-dust/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:19:16 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6862 Opinion – Juliet Bonnay

The Moment of Truth in the Auckland Town Hall on Monday night was not about Kim Dotcom. It was about New Zealand. More specifically, it was about New Zealands ability to hold onto its democracy and remain an independent sovereign nation. Ironically, …

Amidst Dirty Politics ‘Another Free Election Bites the Dust’?

By Juliet Bonnay

‘The Moment of Truth’ in the Auckland Town Hall on Monday night was not about Kim Dotcom. It was about New Zealand. More specifically, it was about New Zealand’s ability to hold onto its democracy and remain an independent sovereign nation. Ironically, if New Zealand signs the secret TPP agreement, and continues to allow mass surveillance here, New Zealanders will be shown to be the “losers” rather than Glenn Greenwald.

What most people do not realise is that Washington, through the CIA and its mass surveillance programs in operation since the sixties, has sneaky ways of working around its allies. In fact, the CIA was instrumental in getting rid of Prime Minister Gogh Whitlam in Australia in 1975 after he ran foul of the Nixon Administration. He dared to withdraw Australian troops from Vietnam after previous Prime Minister Harold Holt promised to go “all the way with LBJ.”

But there was more. Here’s a list of other ‘unfavourable actions’ he took, which William Blum wrote about in his book, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII, in a chapter entitled, Australia (1973-1975) Another Free Election Bites the Dust:

• Young men were released from jailed who had refused military service.
• The Whitlam government recognized North Vietnam.
• Whitlam ordered an immediate halt to an operation in early 1973 that involved Australian intelligence (ASIS) working with the CIA in Chile to bring down the Allende democratically elected government.
• The Labour Government also ended discrimination against immigrants who were being denied naturalization for having opposed the military juntas in places like Greece and Chile.
• In 1973, Whitlam disclosed, and later closed, the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD – comparable to the NSA) unit in Singapore, which was used by the CIA and ASIO to monitor military and civilian radio traffic in Asia.
• In 1975 Whitlam dismissed the heads of both ASIO and ASIS in separate incidents. ASIS had been secretly assisting the CIA in covert activities in East Timor.

In December 1966, under Harold Holt, Australia signed a controversial agreement with the United States that would allow them to establish a secret strategic communications facility at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory. When the Labor Party came to power in 1972, some party members questioned what went on there, unaware that they were CIA facilities, and at times even voted for their removal.

The cumulative effect of this and Gough Whitlam’s actions, was that Washington became so alarmed, what was eventually removed was Gough Whitlam himself after a double dissolution of parliament over the supply bill in November, 1975. This enabled the Liberal and National Country Party coalition to return to power pending a new election. Clearly, this was not who the Australian people had voted for. What was happening to the democratic process?

At the same time, the press revealed that former CIA officer, Richard Lee Stallings, had been channelling funds to J. Douglas Anthony, leader of the National Country Party. This came after Australian political journalist, Ray Aitchison, had published his book, Looking at the Liberals, in which he claimed that the “CIA had offered the opposition unlimited funds in their unsuccessful attempt to defeat the Labor Party in the May 1974 parliamentary elections.”

During a 1976 investigation by the Australian Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security, the conclusion reached was that “for many years members of ASIO had been providing the CIA with potentially damaging information about prominent Australian politicians and governmental officials. The information reportedly ranged from accusations of subversive tendencies to details about personal peccadilloes.”

Joan Coxsedge, a Labour Party member of Parliament in Victoria, noted that:

By the end of 1974, almost every move by the Whitlam Government or by individual Labour parliamentarians, whether it was a departmental decision, a staff appointment, an international cable, a telex, a phone call, or a confidential letter, quickly became the property of the news media. There was an unparalleled campaign of personal vituperation, hinting at incompetence, dissension, corruption and private scandal within the ranks of the government.

In 1977 the Sydney Sun reported on May 4th that the Liberals had received CIA funds since the late 1960s. The article quoted the former CIA officer, Victor Marchetti, as confirming that the CIA had funded both the major opposition parties.
Was this an isolated incidence of interference in Australian political affairs by the CIA? In The Australian on December 09, 2010 in an article WikiLeaks outs Mark Arbib as US informant, Wikileaks claimed that Arbib, an influential right-wing Labour MP, was one of the US Embassy’s “best” Australian Labor Party informants.
Are we now expected to naively believe, just because a prime minister says so, that mass surveillance – or in the very least, surveillance of our politicians – is basically a myth?

Will we now need far more shocking “Moments of Truth” to wake us up?

Unfortunately if the TPP goes through without transparency, its negotiations kept secret for four years so that New Zealanders cannot protest what they will undoubtedly lose in this secret deal – including a free internet, John Key will have long departed these shores to play golf in Hawaii with his buddy, Obama, who set us up in the first place to lose so much to the corporations who control him like a puppet, who control John Key and, in fact, all our political leaders.

In Phillip Agee’s words, (a CIA agent from 1957-1969):
“We didn’t give a hoot about democracy. I mean, it was fine if a government was elected and would cooperate with us, but…if it didn’t, democracy didn’t mean a thing to us. And I don’t think it means a thing today.
“The true goal of the United States Government is control. They feel that if the United States did not control the governments of Latin America, somebody else would and the principal of government by the people, for the people, of the people, that is…just silly.”
What we citizens don’t know when we finally elect someone who promises to improve social conditions for us all and end poverty, is that if our newly elected leader refuses to be controlled or reined in by the corporations who pull the strings from afar – as did Gough Whitlam, John Kennedy, Allende in Chile, Arbenz in Guatemala, Mossadegh in Iran, Chavez in Venezuela, and so many other democratically elected leaders – there are sneaky, and not so sneaky, ways to work behind the scenes to boot them out of government – even if it means orchestrating a bloody coup as we saw this year in Ukraine, or using assassination (or the threat of assassination) as the ultimate weapon of control.

For democracy to thrive and flourish, not only is economic equality necessary, but also a free press and free internet. For democracy to thrive and flourish, people need to be informed – even if that now means searching for the ‘truth’ on the internet. Unfortunately it is a sad reality today that five big corporations now control mainstream mass media and feed us propaganda instead. If the TPP negotiations go through, the new copyright laws will delete the ‘truth’ from the internet which currently empowers citizens with the knowledge necessary to maintain a healthy democracy to serve all the people.

This is what is currently at stake.

References

William Blum (2003), Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII
John Pilger documentary (2007), The War on Democracy

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The selling of New Zealand by our prime minister http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/the-selling-of-new-zealand-by-our-prime-minister/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/the-selling-of-new-zealand-by-our-prime-minister/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:02:04 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6857 Article – Charles Drace

The selling of New Zealand by our prime minister By Charles Drace 19 September 2014

The selling of New Zealand by our prime minister

By Charles Drace
19 September 2014

Author’s Note: this is a work of fiction, at least I hope it is, but like all fiction there may be elements of truth.

It was a dark and stormy night (naturally). Gathered around the massive rosewood boardroom table at a Goldman Sachs’ type bank headquarters in London sat the heads of some of the world’s most influential banks, oil companies, mining companies and chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

Placed in front of each guest is a bottle of Oval Swarovski Crystal Vodka, Royal Salute 50 yr old Chivas Regal Scotch or Hardy Le Printemps Cognac plus $400 dollar bottles of Kona Nigari Water beside crystal glasses. There are no pads of paper, pens, recording machines or cell phones.

Though known to each other through long association in the multi-national company world, they have asked me to keep their names a secret so I will refer to them only by initials: GS, JPM, BOA, DB, ML, IMF, WB, ROT, WP, ANA, SHE, MOB, NEW, RIO, DOW, MON, ELI, MER, plus additional members of Bilderberg and the Trilateral Commission.

There were many others who will not be called to participate in the conversation but will listen and implement the decisions. They had coffee and Coca Cola bottled water.

JPM: We had tremendous success with the Labour government of the 1980’s selling us New Zealand assets at fire sale prices and many of us enjoyed the profits over the next 20 years.

ROS: We’ve also seen the so-called rich/poor gap widen tremendously since then which suits our purposes and our desires.

GS: Yes, it’s good to see the standard of living of the middle and lower classes being reduced and wages and salaries turning into exportable corporate profits.

ANZ: Even though they could not come to this meeting, unfortunately, I think we should all toast the remarkable success of New Zealand’s Business Roundtable in helping us achieve our goals. Having mostly foreign or foreign controlled companies as members has made it easy for us to influence them but their effectiveness was more than we ever imagined.

All: Cheers, cheers.

MON: However, there is much to be done. For instance, even though successive governments have let us fill New Zealand’s grocery shelves with over 750 genetically engineered foods, they still won’t let us grow GE foods there and that means our herbicide and pesticide profits are only a third of what they could be.

MER: And their ridiculous Pharmac is buying billions of dollars of generic medicines. Those billions should be going into patented drugs.

ANA: There are large deposits of oil offshore. At over 2500 metres it is too deep for our current technology but it won’t be long before our technology catches up. We plan to drill to 1500 metres in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico and if that works drilling to over 2000 metres off New Zealand should be feasible.

RIO: New Zealand has quite a few resources we’d like to get our hands on like coal, gold, rare earths in the seabeds, etc. but most of the areas we’d like to explore are tied up in national parks and reserves or with major legal hoops to jump through like the Resource Management Act. And we must prevent any action on climate change that affects our profits.

IMF: We agree, it’s time to open up New Zealand again and get their assets transferred to the major multi-nationals who can exploit them properly.

GS: Well, the financial industry is ready to facilitate the transfer of assets. We made billions out of Rogernomics. What we need is to get control of the New Zealand government.

WP: From our successful experience I would submit that the prime minister of New Zealand has major influence. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if we could get the right person elected as prime minister he mostly likely could get the laws passed to sell the assets to our ready purchasers and open up the marketplace to almost total control by the companies we here, tonight, represent.

ML: Interestingly enough, I think we’ve got just the right guy.

MER: Who do you have in mind?

ML: Perhaps its best to keep his name under wraps at this stage, but we recently instructed him to close one of our London trading offices and move it to Ireland for tax purposes. He was very effective. He had to fire hundreds of staff members but did so efficiently and without fuss. Our employees call him ‘The Smiling Assassin’ or ‘Shonkey’ but to us at headquarters he is just ‘our man.’

GS: I think I know who you mean. We recently consulted him on the best way for us to get the contract to sell New Zealand’s electricity assets.

MER: How would we go about it?

WP: As you know we have almost 150 years experience in New Zealand, so if I may make a suggestion. It would not be difficult to use our resources to convince a sitting MP in a safe tory seat to step down. We could put your man in that seat, use our influence and those of our partners to push him into the leadership position and then get him elected as prime minister.

JPM: Then after he gets elected we could convince him to pass a law giving overseas corporations the right to make unlimited campaign contributions. That should keep him in place as long as we need him. After all, once the assets are in our hands there is no way New Zealand could get them back.

NEW: Yes, and after he’s opened up the reserves to mining….

ANA: And the oceans to deep sea oil drilling!

GS: And sold productive, income earning assets like the electricity companies, we should have the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement ready for him to sign.

MON: Yes, once that’s signed we will have more or less total control of commerce in New Zealand and enjoy our profits until the assets run out.

ELI: We must make sure there is a clause in the TPPA allowing us to sue the New Zealand government if they allow any impediments to sales as well as our purchases of New Zealand companies and assets. We’re readying a suit against Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement which should be ultra lucrative for us and teach the Canadians not to get in our way again.

DB: We’ll also need to convince him to borrow billions every year. I think he’ll be happy to do that because it will make the economy look good even though it will really be in recession. I would guess that about $9 billion a year would do the trick.

IMF: We’re ready to help. After all, we’ve helped move assets into foreign corporate control in many countries around the globe. Once New Zealand reaches unsupportable debt levels then your man can appeal to the IMF. We can then impose the normal IMF requirements to sell off all assets and reduce pensions, social support, health support, etc. That will open up even more opportunities for our friendly corporations to fill the voids.

DOW: So, is that our plan? Are we all agreed?

All: Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.

© Charles Drace 2014

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Top 5 Scoop Press Releases Week To 13th Sep 2014 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/top-5-scoop-press-releases-week-to-13th-sep-2014/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/top-5-scoop-press-releases-week-to-13th-sep-2014/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:45:32 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6851 Article – Scoop Insights

The following five press releases were the top performing press releases (by NZ page view numbers) according to Google Analytics on Scoop for the seven days to 13th September 2014.

Top 5 Scoop Press Releases Week To 13th Sep 2014

by Scoop Insights

The following five press releases were the top performing press releases (by NZ page view numbers) according to Google Analytics on Scoop for the seven days to 13th September 2014.

1. Shock as company gets go-ahead in the Karangahake Gorge
Extensive mining activity is due to start in the beautiful bush clad hills behind the iconic Karangahake Rail Trail.

2. Goff Gives Sworn Evidence to IGIS
Former Leader of the Labour Party Phil Goff this morning gave evidence under oath to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s Inquiry into whether security intelligence documents were leaked by John Key’s office for political purposes.

3. How come the PM only pays 2.8% of his income in tax
“Before John Key talks about the piddling tax cuts he plans for low and middle income families today he needs to explain why he only pays 2.8% of his income on tax while a minimum wage worker pays 28% tax,” says MANA Movement leader Hone Harawira.

4. The TPPA’s Dirty Little Secret: How US could write NZ’s Laws
A new website launched today ( http://tppnocertification.org/ ) has exposed what University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey calls ‘the dirty little secret of the TPPA’.

5. Pulzar Nation Officially Separates from New Zealand
As per international law, as dictated in the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, Pulzar Nation has separated from New Zealand and will no longer recognise NZ law. Pulzar Nation accepts that the current regime may not be willing …

*************

Scoop Insights From Scoop Independent News : Scoop Insights is an occasional series of articles and items published by the Scoop team which shed light on the business engine that drives Scoop Independent News. It is a online newslettter targeted at professional communicators and clients of the Scoop suite of communication products. You can subscribe to receive Scoop Insights as they are published by email via Scoop Newsagent on the Scoop Insights Infopage.

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TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate Greed http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/tppa-a-sellout-to-american-corporate-greed/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/tppa-a-sellout-to-american-corporate-greed/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:15:24 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6845 Press Release – Internet MANA

New Zealand will become a permanent prisoner to the United States greed and global arrogance if the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) isnt stopped, warns Internet MANA.MEDIA RELEASE
September 17, 2014

TPPA a Sellout to American Corporate Greed, Says Internet Mana

New Zealand will become a permanent prisoner to the United States’ greed and global arrogance if the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) isn’t stopped, warns Internet MANA.

The TPPA being negotiated in secret by the Key Government will do irreversible damage to our independence and democracy, say leaders Hone Harawira and Laila Harré.

“We are fast becoming a puppet to US foreign affairs world overview, and the TPPA aims squarely at our national right to govern.”

Ms Harré cites the evidence presented by international lawyer Robert Amsterdam at the Moment of Truth event when he spoke to his recent paper on the dangers of the TPPA. A link to Mr Amsterdam’s paper is below.

“The TPPA will give the US access to New Zealand’s markets while stripping the New Zealand Parliament of its authority over much of the country’s trade and business. Each day New Zealanders are giving up rights, freedoms and independence so that the Government can reach closer to an American orbit in the name of free trade.”
Ms Harré points to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement as a direct threat to our self-determination by allowing foreign corporations to sue our government for millions in damages if our laws interfere with their profits.

Mr Harawira says that history will remember the Key Government as one that sold out New Zealanders to the US – unless we act to defend ourselves.

“Our economy is small change to the Americans, so we have no muscle in the TPPA negotiations. We must pull out of this destructive dealing.”

Ms Harré says that regardless of which parties get to govern on Saturday, Internet MANA is resolute in its fight against the TPPA.

Mr Harawira said that he, Ms Harré, Annette Sykes and John Minto had unswerving track records of taking on – and winning – David versus Goliath battles.

Internet MANA policies HERE
Internet Party Independence policy HERE
“The TPPA: Trading Away New Zealand’s Independence”, by Robert Amsterdam HERE
Moment of Truth video HERE

ENDS

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Beef + Lamb NZ Outlines Priorities Ahead of Election http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/beef-lamb-nz-outlines-priorities-ahead-of-election/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/beef-lamb-nz-outlines-priorities-ahead-of-election/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:39:22 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6834 Press Release – Beef And Lamb NZ

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has outlined what it sees as the policy priorities for the incoming government.16 SEPTEMBER 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Outlines Priorities Ahead of General Election

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has outlined what it sees as the policy priorities for the incoming government.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, James Parsons says the policy manifesto covers a range of issues that will support a confident and profitable sheep and beef sector.

“The red meat sector is hugely important to the New Zealand economy – worth $8.5 billion a year, so it’s critical that the incoming government is aware of the issues that affect our sheep and beef farmers,” Parsons said.

“Our first priority is securing investment in research and development that will increase farm productivity and continue adding value to our sheepmeat and beef products.

“It’s of critical importance to New Zealand sheep and beef farmers that government funding continues alongside industry investment in areas like Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics, research into farm systems, forages, pest and weed management and mitigating environmental impacts like greenhouse gas emissions.

“The environment is a significant focus for us and determining nutrient discharge regimes in an equitable manner is important.”

Parsons said continued funding for Primary Growth Partnerships with the sheep and beef industry was needed to arm farmers with step-change infrastructure and tools to encourage greater efficiency and profit.

More work will be required to remove barriers to our exports in key existing and developing markets with a particular focus on the on-going negotiations towards a bilateral free trade agreement with Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Equally, attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is critical to the success of the sector and Beef + Lamb New Zealand wants to work with government to promote careers and pathways for young people entering sheep and beef farming.

“We’d like to see government recognition that the cost of tertiary agricultural education is more expensive than education leading into many other industries. Reducing this cost will be a key driver in achieving the target in the People Powered report of 50,000 more workers in the primary sector by 2025,” Parsons said. This report looked at the expected capability needs for each of the primary industries, along with the services that support them.

Download the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Manifesto (PDF, 2MB)

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Mass surveillance and sexual violence: Assange and Snowden http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/mass-surveillance-and-sexual-violence-assange-and-snowden/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/mass-surveillance-and-sexual-violence-assange-and-snowden/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:01:23 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6832 Article – Fightback

Mass surveillance and sexual violence: The difference between Snowden and Assange by Fightback Admin 16 September 2014

Mass surveillance and sexual violence: The difference between Snowden and Assange

by Fightback Admin
16 September 2014

Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden: whistleblowers persecuted for exposing imperialist abuses
Last night’s ‘Moment of Truth’ event in Auckland, called together by Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom, revealed the extent of mass surveillance in Aotearoa/NZ. Our government, in complicity with a transnational regime headed by the US, collects extensive personal data through information technology. As seen in the 2007 Urewera Raids, governments will use this information to justify attacks on ordinary people.

The ‘Moment of Truth’ event brought Dotcom together with whistle-blower Edward Snowden, Wikileaks founding member Julian Assange, and journalist Glen Greenwald.

Although Snowden, Dotcom and Assange are all sought by authorities, the nature of the charges are different. Copyright and espionage laws are largely designed to help governments and corporations protect their power; sexual violence, in the case of Assange, is itself an abuse of power.

We can walk and chew gum, opposing both surveillance and sexual violence. Fightback supports exposing mass surveillance, however we argue it is not necessary to give a platform to Julian Assange. These cases need to be distinguished.

Edward Snowden
Snowden is a whistle-blower, known for leaking classified information from the US National Security Agency (NSA). He is sought by the US government for espionage and theft of government property, currently residing in Russia.

For socialists, the real crime is not Snowden’s betrayal of his imperialist masters, but the international system of violence and surveillance he helped expose. Betraying this system is a necessary, even heroic act.

At the ‘Moment of Truth’ event, Snowden revealed that the NSA has bases in Auckland and Northland. Progressives in Aotearoa/NZ welcome Snowden (and journalist Glenn Greenwald) in helping us expose the complicity of our government in imperialist abuses.

Kim Dotcom
Kim Dotcom is a German-Finnish resident of Aotearoa/NZ, the founder of file-sharing business Megaupload. In early 2012, Dotcom was arrested for copyright infringement at the behest of the US government.

Dotcom describes this experience of state repression as a politicising event. In opposition to imperialist agreements, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and the Five Eyes agreement, Dotcom found unity with social democratic and radical indigenous forces, forging the basis of the Internet Mana electoral alliance.

Dotcom is no angel. He’s a profiteer, (although Internet Mana’s policy process has led to Dotcom advocating taxes on the rich) and was accurately described by Internet Party gender spokesperson Pani Farvid as a “product of sexist culture.”
As phrased by Jacobin Magazine’s Gavin Mueller, “it’s so easy to hate Kim Dotcom that you almost forget that the US convinced the New Zealand government to send in an assault brigade, bereft of a valid warrant but outfitted with automatic weapons and helicopters, to arrest a Finnish citizen at the demand of Hollywood studios.”

Progressives in Internet Mana unite with Dotcom around shared demands, particularly opposing corporate copyright laws and transnational state repression.

Julian Assange
Assange is a founding member of Wikileaks, an organisation whose leaking of state secrets have helped in exposing international imperialist abuses. He is also sought for questioning related to charges of sexual violence.

Some accuse the women involved of being CIA ‘honey traps,’ or the authorities of manufacturing charges.

However, the facts of the case are well-established, admitted by both Assange and his legal defence. Assange had sex with a woman while she was sleeping, and had sex without a condom when requested to wear a condom. These are violations of consent.

We don’t have to trust the state to believe women’s testimony of being assaulted.

Assange should not be given a platform at progressive events. This discredits the movement against neoliberalism and mass surveillance.

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NSA whistleblower Snowden says kiwis are ‘being watched’ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/nsa-whistleblower-snowden-says-kiwis-are-being-watched/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/nsa-whistleblower-snowden-says-kiwis-are-being-watched/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 21:58:21 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6828 Article – BusinessDesk

Sept. 15 (BusinessDesk) – Fugitive spying whistleblower Edward Snowden put in an appearance via the internet at tonight’s Internet Party Moment of Truth event to back up his claims that mass surveillance of New Zealanders is already taking place …

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden says kiwis are ‘being watched’

By Fiona Rotherham

Sept. 15 (BusinessDesk) – Fugitive spying whistleblower Edward Snowden put in an appearance via the internet at tonight’s Internet Party Moment of Truth event to back up his claims that mass surveillance of New Zealanders is already taking place despite government denials.

Snowden had earlier posted an article on The Intercept website entitled “New Zealand’s Prime Minister isn’t telling the truth about mass surveillance”, where he said any statement that mass surveillance isn’t performed in New Zealand, or that internet communications are not comprehensively intercepted and monitored, is categorically false.

“If you live in New Zealand, you are being watched,” he said. He also told the event there were two US National Security Agency facilities in New Zealand – one in Auckland and one further north.

Prime Minister John Key released declassified documents just before the Moment of Truth event, where 800 people had to be turned away from the packed Auckland Town Hall while more than 22,000 viewers watched on the YouTube livestream. Key again denied the claims by Snowden and American journalist Glen Greenwald concerning the operations of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

Greenwald also released a story today on The Intercept website which said New Zealand’s spy agency, the GCSB, worked in 2012 and 2013 to implement a mass metadata surveillance system as top government officials publicly insisted no such programme was being planned and would not be legally permitted.

Both he and Snowden didn’t add any new revelations beyond what was in the articles they published just before the event, although they both questioned why Key could release previously classified documents simply to defend his own reputation rather than in the national interest, and whether the documents should have been classified in the first place.

Greenwald said documents provided by Snowden show that the New Zealand government worked in secret to exploit a new internet surveillance law enacted in the wake of revelations of illegal domestic spying to initiate a new metadata collection programme that appeared to be designed to collect information about New Zealanders’ communications.

Snowden accused Key of misleading the public about GCSB’s role in mass surveillance.

“The prime minister’s claim to the public, that ‘there is not and there never has been any mass surveillance’, is false,” the former National Security Agency analyst wrote. “The GCSB, whose operations he is responsible for, is directly involved in the untargeted, bulk interception and algorithmic analysis of private communications sent via internet, satellite, radio and phone networks.”

While speaking via the internet link, Snowden said Key was “carefully parsing his words” when it came to mass surveillance. While at the NSA Snowden routinely came across the communications of New Zealanders in his work with a mass surveillance tool shared with the GCSB, called X Keyscore, which searches for keywords and phrases that justify opening the metadata extracted from cyber messages.

It was not limited to or even used largely for the purposes of cyber security, as has been claimed, but was instead used primarily for reading individuals’ private email, text messages and internet traffic, he said. “I know this because it was my full-time job in Hawaii, where I worked every day in an NSA facility with a top secret clearance,” he said.

The X Keyscore system offers, but doesn’t require for use, a so-called Five Eyes Defeat which is an optional filter or single checkbox. This allows the analysts to prevent research results from being returned on those countries from a particular search. The Five Eyes programme also involves Australia, Canada, the UK and the US and was first documented by activist and journalist Nicky Hager in his 1996 book, Secret Power.

“Ask yourself: why do analysts have a checkbox on a top secret system that hides the results of mass surveillance in New Zealand if there is no mass surveillance in New Zealand?, ” Snowden said.

Greenwald said the GCSB contributed large amounts of metadata on New Zealanders to the X-Keyscore database. Snowden said the GCSB didn’t merely use X Keyscore but also actively and directly developed mass surveillance algorithms for it.

The top secret documents provided by Snowden apparently show that the GCSB, with ongoing NSA cooperation, implemented phase one of the mass surveillance programme codenamed ‘Speargun’ at some point in 2012 or early 2013. Speargun involved the covert installation of cable access equipment – an apparent reference to surveillance of the country’s main undersea cable, the Southern Cross cable, which carries most of the country’s internet traffic to the rest of the world.

After that was completed Greenwald said Speargun moved to phase two, under which “metadata probes” were to be inserted into the cables. The NSA documents note that the first such metadata probe was scheduled for mid-2013.

“The technique is almost by definition a form of mass surveillance; metadata is relatively useless for intelligence purposes without a massive amount of similar data to analyse it against and trace connections through,” Greenwald said.

Southern Cross Cable scotched the claim, saying its cables linking New Zealand to Australia, the Pacific and the US were untouched and that no equipment was installed in either the cables themselves or the landing stations that could result in mass interception of communications.

“I can tell you quite categorically there is no facility by the NSA, the GCSB or anyone else on the Southern Cross cable network,” Southern Cross chief executive Anthony Briscoe said in a statement. “I can give you absolute assurances from Southern Cross – and me as a Kiwi – that there are no sites anywhere on the Southern Cross network that have to do with interception or anything else the NSA or GCSB might want to do.”

But Snowden said the company wouldn’t necessarily know the spying was taking place.

Key released the declassified documents to correct what he dubbed “misinformation” put in the public domain about the GCSB.

“There is not, and never has been, mass surveillance of New Zealanders undertaken by the GCSB,” he reiterated.

Regarding X Keyscore, he said he wouldn’t discuss specific programmes the GCSB may use, but he said the agency doesn’t collect mass metadata on New Zealanders and is therefore not contributing such data to anyone else.

Snowden questioned why even now, Key wouldn’t talk about X Key Score. He said if the public wanted such a system due to concerns about foreign threats that was their decision to make, but it was not one that belonged to Key or GCSB officials without public debate and public consent. “That decision belongs to the people of that country.”

The impending release of the NSA files from Snowden forced the government to admit last week that its foreign spy agency had been gearing up for mass surveillance.

Key said the GCSB had been working on a business study for a form of mass cyber protection for more than a year following cyber attacks on several large New Zealand companies. He stopped the work in March 2013 after an internal review uncovered a number of problems at the agency. The review by Rebecca Kitteridge was sparked when illegal surveillance of Dotcom came to light in September 2012. Her report found a further 88 Kiwis were unlawfully snooped on over a decade.

Key later said Greenwald’s documents might show New Zealand had been spying on some of its trading partners but this aspect – which had the potential to cause problems on the trading front – was not touched on at tonight’s event.

Kim Dotcom’s lawyer Bob Amsterdam reiterated his concerns over the Trans Tasman Pacific Agreement (TTPA), claiming it was an agreement that would “take from you your sovereignty.” The international trade lawyer warned the US could block any benefits from the proposed regional free trade agreement between 12 countries, claiming Hollywood and other big businesses used trade agreements to impose American expectations in the domestic laws of other countries.

He said the US Congress could veto any trade benefits or even impose sanctions on countries that didn’t meet US expectations. Dotcom is facing a legal battle over copyright issues.

The papers Key released show the GCSB considered a variety of options for cyber security and presented an initial range to Cabinet for consideration in 2012. While the Cabinet initially expressed an interest in the agency developing a future business case for the strongest form of protection for the public and private sectors, that decision was later revoked, he said.

“The business case for the highest form of protection was never completed or presented to Cabinet and never approved. Put simply, it never happened,” Key said.

In September last year a Cabinet minute formally rescinded the request for a business case and the introduction of a new, narrower project named Cortex. That narrower programme was approved by Cabinet in July this year but Key provided little detail on what it involved. All costings relating to the various cyber security options, including the one introduced, had been redacted in the documents Key released.

Greenwald’s article said the documents indicate that Speargun was not just an idea that stalled at the discussion stage. He produced evidence of a top secret NSA document discussing the activities of its surveillance partners that reported under the heading of “New Zealand” that Partner cable access programme achieves Phase one.

Critically, Greenwald said, the NSA documents note in more than one place that completion of Speargun was impeded by one obstacle, the need to enact a new spying law that would allow the GCSB, for the first time, to spy on its own citizens as well as legal residents of the country.

The legislation eventually passed by National was said to merely provide oversight and to clarify that targeted domestic surveillance which had long been carried out by the agency was legal.

(BusinessDesk)

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Public interest Resolution Presented to Trade Minister http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/public-interest-resolution-presented-to-trade-minister/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/public-interest-resolution-presented-to-trade-minister/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 16:01:59 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6825 Press Release – TPPA Nelson Action

The Resolution adopted by Auckland, Nelson, Tasman, Christchurch and Dunedin Councils protecting the public interest regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations was accepted by the trade minister at the National Party public meeting on Wednesday …Press Release 14-9-2014

TPPA Nelson Action presents the public interest Resolution to Trade Minister Tim Groser!

The Resolution adopted by Auckland, Nelson, Tasman, Christchurch and Dunedin Councils protecting the public interest regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations was accepted by the trade minister at the National Party public meeting on Wednesday the 10th September.

TPPA Nelson Action is pleased that a bottom line on what the people will accept concerning trade agreements has been outlined to our negotiators..

The trade minister spoke to a packed meeting which was dominated by citizens concerned with the issues surrounding the TPP negotiations.

Most of the questions were centred on the ability of corporations to sue New Zealand for any law changes in the best interests of the people and our country.

Philip Morris taking action against Australia for plain packaging of tobacco is the most recent example of what NZ may have to face if governments sign up to these kind of agreements in our name.

When asked if the Minister could confirm that out of 29 chapters of the agreement only 5 of the chapters concern trade Mr Groser’s replied “You’ll find out when we’ve finished the deal”.

This attitude of “Trust me I know what I’m doing” which pervades both major parties on the TPP has no place in a free & democratic society where we can make up our own minds if we have the facts.

The concerned people of Nelson community once again showed their support for the Resolution by attending the meeting and voicing their concerns directly to those negotiating on behalf of the people of New Zealand. Accountability demands they listen to us.

TPPA Nelson Action Renewables
Graeme O’Brien Greg Rzesniowiecki

TPP policy for all NZ government authorities

That the NZ Government conclude negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other Free Trade Agreements in a way that provides net positive benefits for New Zealand – that is Assent to any partnership and/or agreement is conditional upon achievement of the following objectives:

i. Continues to allow all local government authorities, if they so choose, to adopt procurement policies that provide for a degree of local preference; to choose whether particular services or facilities are provided in house, by council controlled organisations (CCOs) or by contracting out; or to require higher health and safety, environmental protection, employment rights and conditions, community participation, animal protection or human rights standards than national or international minimum standards.

ii. Maintains good diplomatic and trade relations and partnerships with other major trading partners not included in the agreement, including with China.

iii. Provides substantially increased access for our agriculture exports including the USA.

iv. Does not undermine PHARMAC, raise the cost of medical treatments and medicines or threaten public health measures, such as tobacco control;

v. Does not give overseas investors or suppliers any greater rights than domestic investors and suppliers, such as through introducing Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or reduce our ability to control overseas investment or finance;

vi. Does not expand intellectual property rights and enforcement in excess of current law; vii. Does not weaken our public services, require privatisation, hinder reversal of privatisations, or increase the commercialisation of government or other local government organisations;

viii. Does not reduce our flexibility to support local economic and industry development and encourage good employment and environmental practices and initiatives like Council Cadetships, and the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs which enable marginalised young people to develop their skills and transition into meaningful employment;

ix. Contains enforceable labour clauses requiring adherence to core International Labour Organisation conventions and preventing reduction of labour rights for trade or investment advantage;

x. Contains enforceable environmental clauses preventing reduction of environmental nor biosecurity standards for trade or investment advantage;

xi. Has general exceptions to protect human rights, the environment, the Treaty of Waitangi, and New Zealand’s economic and financial stability;

xii. Has been negotiated with real public consultation including regular public releases of drafts of the text of the agreement, and ratification being conditional on a full social, environmental and economic impact assessment including public submissions.

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Our next 10 priorities to grow NZ business http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/our-next-10-priorities-to-grow-nz-business/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/our-next-10-priorities-to-grow-nz-business/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:45:58 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6820 Press Release – New Zealand National Party

Our plan will continue to lift New Zealands long-term growth rate and create more opportunities for New Zealanders and their families. It will help to give Kiwi firms the confidence to invest in New Zealand, create jobs, and lift incomes.Our next 10 priorities to grow NZ business
Today I outlined the next steps in National’s Business Growth Agenda.

Our plan will continue to lift New Zealand’s long-term growth rate and create more opportunities for New Zealanders and their families. It will help to give Kiwi firms the confidence to invest in New Zealand, create jobs, and lift incomes.

A re-elected National Government will focus on these priorities over the next three years:

1. Negotiate and sign Free Trade Agreements including Korea, Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the WTO Government Procurement Agreement so our exporters can compete on an equal footing in other economies and further lift our exports.
2.
3. Introduce and pass the Resource Management Act reform package to provide more certainty, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness in resource allocation decisions.
4.
5. Hold Kiwi expat Job Fairs in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne to recruit skilled Kiwis for jobs back in New Zealand and help remove skills constraints for key sectors of the New Zealand economy.
6.
7. Deliver more skills relevant to industry by setting up three new ICT Graduate Schools across New Zealand and investing to lift the number of engineering graduates available to employers.
8.
9. Double the level of business R&D to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018 so that more of our innovative high-tech businesses succeed on the world stage.
10.
11. Lift the footprint of the Ultra-fast Broadband rollout from 75 per cent to 80 per cent of New Zealand and extend the Rural Broadband Initiative so that all parts of New Zealand have world-leading 21st Century broadband coverage.
12.
13. Complete the passage of the Employment Relations Bill to ensure flexible labour markets that create more jobs for Kiwis.
14.
15. Deliver Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation Project and simplify the tax system for (small and medium-sized businesses) so that New Zealand businesses spend less time calculating their tax and more time working on their business.
16.
17. Accelerate petroleum and minerals exploration through our new data acquisition programme so that we increase exploration further from the $1 billion spent last summer.
18.
19. Roll out the next stages of the Roads of National Significance and key regional roading projects so that we remove chokepoints and improve the resilience of New Zealand’s core land transport system.
20.
National understands that it is only by having a strong economy that we can lift opportunities and incomes for Kiwi families, and provide world-leading public services. See more of our plan this election here.

Our Business Growth Agenda, along with our strong economic management and responsible management of the Government’s finances, will help turn the gains of the last few years into a sustained long-term lift in New Zealand’s prosperity.

We can only do it with your support. A vote for any other party risks political turmoil and our economy stalling. This Saturday, give your Party Vote to National.

ends

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Next 10 things for Business Growth Agenda http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/next-10-things-for-business-growth-agenda/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/next-10-things-for-business-growth-agenda/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 10:16:34 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=6818 Press Release – New Zealand National Party

The National Party has today laid out the 10 highest priorities for its Business Growth Agenda over the next three years as it works to lift New Zealand’s long-term growth rate and create more opportunities for New Zealanders and their families.Next 10 things for Business Growth Agenda

The National Party has today laid out the 10 highest priorities for its Business Growth Agenda over the next three years as it works to lift New Zealand’s long-term growth rate and create more opportunities for New Zealanders and their families.

“The Business Growth Agenda is doing a good job of giving companies the confidence to invest and grow jobs here in New Zealand,” National Party Economic Development Spokesman Steven Joyce says.

“The Deloitte Business New Zealand survey last week showed that 62.5 per cent of New Zealand businesses endorse the Government’s co-ordinated plan of action focused on raising New Zealand’s economic performance.

“The challenge now is to keep working hard across all 350-odd initiatives in the Business Growth Agenda to remove capacity constraints in the New Zealand economy, and lift our growth rate while carefully managing the environmental impacts.”

In particular, a re-elected National government intends to focus on the following ‘next 10 things’ to lift our long-term growth rate:

1. Negotiate and sign Free Trade Agreements including Korea, Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the WTO Government Procurement Agreement so our exporters can compete on an equal footing in other economies and further lift our exports.

2. Introduce and pass the Resource Management Act reform package to provide more certainty, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness in resource allocation decisions.

3. Hold Kiwi expat Job Fairs in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to recruit skilled Kiwis for jobs back in New Zealand and help remove skills constraints for key sectors of the New Zealand economy.

4. Deliver more skills relevant to industry by setting up three new ICT Graduate Schools across New Zealand and investing to lift the number of engineering graduates available to employers.

5. Double the level of business R&D to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018 so that more of our innovative high-tech businesses succeed on the world stage.

6. Lift the footprint of the Ultrafast Broadband rollout from 75 per cent to 80 per cent of New Zealand and extend the Rural Broadband Initiative so that all parts of New Zealand have world-leading 21st Century broadband coverage.

7. Complete the passage of the Employment Relations Bill to ensure flexible labour markets that create more jobs for Kiwis.

8. Deliver Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation Project and simplify the tax system for SMEs so that New Zealand businesses spend less time calculating their tax and more time working on their business.

9. Accelerate petroleum and minerals exploration through our new data acquisition programme so that we increase exploration further from the $1 billion spent last summer.

10. Roll out the next stages of the Roads of National Significance and key regional roading projects so that we remove chokepoints and improve the resilience of New Zealand’s core land transport system.

“These 10 projects are crucial to lifting New Zealand’s growth rate and providing more opportunities for Kiwi businesses to invest and grow jobs. If re-elected, we will seek early support from other parties in Parliament to advance our Business Growth Agenda further,” Mr Joyce says.

“National understands that it is only by having a strong economy that we can lift opportunities and incomes for Kiwi families, and provide world-leading public services.

“Our Business Growth Agenda, along with our broader economic management, will turn what has been one or two years of a world-leading growth performance into a sustained long-term lift in New Zealand’s prosperity.”

ends

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