NZ PM Releases Results of Kim Dotcom Review

Last week, the Prime Minister of New Zealand apologized to Megaupload co-founder Kim Dotcom for the illegal interceptions of Dotcom's communications before the raid on his mansion and arrest, conducted at the behest of the U.S. which was seeking his extradition to face criminal charges.

Today the Prime Minister released the results of the review of the GCSB's illegal interceptions.

The Prime Minister's press release is here. It doesn't say much, other than to give the PM a clean bill of health for not having been briefed on Dotcom prior to the raid. He acknowledges there may have been a quick reference to Dotcom at a meeting after the arrests in February, 2012, but insists nothing was said about his residency.

Also interesting is this article, which says that a highly secretive group of world spies from the U.S., U.K., New Zealand, Canada and Australia, called "Five Eyes" met in New Zealand just 2 days before the Prime Minister announced the illegal interception of Kim Dotcom's communications on Sept. 17.

"Five Eyes?" Seems they've been around since the end of WWII when an agreement called the UKUSA was signed to share intelligence amongst the countries.

the UKUSA Agreement is without parallel in the Western intelligence world and formed the basis for co-operation between the two countries throughout the Cold War.

More on it here. The 1955 version is here.

"Five Eyes" also made the news this summer when a Canadian naval officer sold highly classified documents, including intelligence gathered by "Five Eyes" to Russia on a scale that was compared to the Wikileaks documents.

Much of the information allegedly sold to the Russians was more highly classified than the disclosures attributed to private Manning, and included signals intelligence collected by the ''Five Eyes'' intelligence community of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Canada says "Five Eyes" is more important now than ever.

Communications Security Establishment Canada watchdog Robert Decary highlights the close relationship the spy agency maintains with shadowy counterparts in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

... Decary says the decades-old co-operative alliance — known as the Five Eyes community — may be more valuable now than at any other time, given increasingly complex technological challenges.

...The Ottawa-based CSE — whose chief John Forster reports to Defence Minister Peter MacKay — monitors foreign computer, satellite, radio, telephone and fax traffic for information of interest to Canada.

Intelligence produced by the CSE helps support Canadian crime-fighting, defence and trade activities. Military listening posts assist the agency's efforts to intercept the communications of foreign states and organizations, as well as the phone calls and messages of suspected terrorists, drug traffickers and smugglers.

..."The need for information sharing is vital," says the watchdog's report.

As to the sharing:

The alliance ["Five Eyes"] capitalizes on each member’s relative geographic and resource strengths “to contribute to the knowledge and intelligence of the whole,” said Martin Rudner, professor emeritus of international affairs at Carleton University.

So who was at the "Five Eyes" Meeting in September, days before the Prime Minister announced the Kim Dotcom illegal interceptions?

It is understood Intelligence Co-ordination Group director Roy Ferguson, a former ambassador to the US, was at the meeting. The State Services Commission would not confirm this, referring an inquiry to Mr Key's office.....It is believed he was joined by representatives from the US Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Britain's Communications Headquarters, Canada's Communications Security Establishment and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.

According to today's release by the Prime Minister, Intelligence Co-ordination Group director Roy Ferguson was made aware of GCSB's role in the Kim Dotcom raid on the day it took place.

The Prime Minister was not briefed by any group or official within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on the GCSB’s role in the Dotcom matter ahead of the 17 September meeting. Roy Ferguson, Director of the Intelligence Coordination Group, was made aware by GCSB of its role in the arrest of Mr Dotcom the day of the raid but only after it occurred in January 2012. Mr Ferguson has advised the Prime Minister that his records indicate he did not subsequently brief the Prime Minister on the matter. It is not Mr Ferguson’s role to brief the Prime Minister on operational matters.

What is the Intelligence Co-ordination Group?

The ICG is part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and has a close working relationship with the Security and Risk Group (SRG) and the National Assessments Bureau (NAB) within DPMC. Outside of DPMC the ICG has responsibilities relating to the New Zealand Intelligence Community, particularly the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). The ICG also maintains relationships with its counterpart agencies in other jurisdictions.

What is its role with respect to the Prime Minister? From a November, 2011 briefing to the Prime Minister:

The Intelligence Coordination Group (ICG) is responsible for ensuring that the New Zealand intelligence community delivers its key outputs in a coordinated and cost-effective way. The ICG advises the Prime Minister on intelligence matters and supports the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC) in its governance role of the intelligence community.

...Roy Ferguson has been Director of the Intelligence Coordination Group since September 2010. He is responsible for leadership and coordination of the New Zealand intelligence community agencies.

...The ICG’s key functions are to: advise the Prime Minister on intelligence matters; provide priority setting, coordination, resourcing and evaluation of the intelligence community; coordinate New Zealand’s international intelligence relationships.

...the ICG has responsibilities relating to the New Zealand Intelligence Community, particularly the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). The ICG also engages closely with agencies that make up the wider intelligence community, including the Defence Directorate for Intelligence and Security, Police, Customs, Immigration, MFAT, DIA and Maritime NZ. The ICG also maintains relationships with some international counterparts.

...Since its inception in September 2010, the ICG has provided regular coordinated intelligence briefings to you [the Prime Minister], and other Ministers where appropriate.

As to the February meeting neither the Prime Minister nor the GCSB director remember referencing Kim Dotcom:

The Prime Minister visited GCSB offices on 29 February for a briefing on the broader capabilities of the bureau, and to meet the staff. A paper prepared as talking points for the staff member conducting a presentation contained a short reference to the Dotcom arrest a few weeks earlier, as an example of cooperation between the GCSB and the Police. The presentation was an electronic slide presentation. The cover slide was a montage of 11 small images, one of which was of Mr Dotcom.

The talking points paper was used by the staff member at the briefing, however neither that paper nor a copy of the presentation was provided to the Prime Minister either at that time or subsequently. No written record was kept of the meeting.

....In advising the Prime Minister of the talking points note and the electronic presentation, the Director told the Prime Minister that he had no recollection of the Dotcom matter being raised at the meeting but accepted the assurance of his staff that it was mentioned briefly, in the context of a much broader presentation.

And so, the Prime Minister says today:

“While neither the GCSB Director nor I can recall the reference to the Dotcom matter being made during my visit to the bureau back in February, I accept that it may well have been made.

According to Scoop,

However, it has been revealed that on February 16 police told GCSB that the spying may have been illegal - but GCSB's legal department concluded there was no problem.

The meeting with the reference to Kim Dotcom that PM Key and the GCSB Director don't recall was on Feb. 29. Is it really likely no one brought up the subject of the concern about illegality?

Regardless, PM Key agrees the GCSB acted illegally in intercepting Kim Dotcom, and today disclosed that illegal interceptions also occurred in 3 other cases. If he wasn't made aware, what does this say about his leadership and supervision ability?

Perhaps more importantly, I doubt the illegality would have come to light had Kim Dotcom not been able to secure the services of his top-notch New Zealand legal team.

The reviews appear to be ongoing:

The Government announced on Monday that Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Kitteridge will oversee a review of the GCSB and the following day Police Commissioner Peter Marshall confirmed that police were investigating the illegal surveillance.

The question now is how many more disclosures will turn up and will they torpedo the extradition case? Kim Dotcom posted this video a few days ago, with the message, "I just want to live my life."

It's probably a good thing Kim Dotcom likes living in New Zealand, because even if he wins the extradition battle in NZ, there's nothing to prevent the U.S. from trying to extradite him from a different country should he travel to one. Will he ever be able to reclaim his life?

Given the cost of this extradition battle and the disinclination of the U.S. to return his money, Kim Dotcom may need to hurry the launch of Megabox. His promo videos are here and here.

This is what they don't want you to have.
Unchaining artists and fans.
Megabox is coming soon.

I have no doubt Kim Dotcom will make many more millions of dollars and I hope he does. He doesn't need our pity. The people who need our pity are the taxpayers of the U.S. and New Zealand who are funding their governments' legal actions against him. How come we don't get consulted? Because that's not how it works -- arrest and prosecution decisions aren't put to a public vote. but what if they were? Kim Dotcom has practically achieved folk-hero status in both countries. Does anyone outside of Hollywood and the recording industry establishment want to see this action succeed?

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    And Mitt Romney runs for President (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 09:58:26 AM EST
    While owning stock in a Chinese Company that pirates:

    Mitt Romney's recently released tax returns show the governor recently sold off investments in the Chinese online-video company Youku, a Chinese version of YouTube. The site was launched in 2006 and quickly became a haven for downloading illegal American content. The site has been trying to repair its image as a piracy portal since lawsuits have caused them to remove unauthorized content"

    Remember when (none / 0) (#2)
    by sj on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 10:51:21 AM EST
    it used to be a joke that the villain wanted to Rule The World?  And now here we with powerful World Spies.  I'm just glad that the coordination of these ... World Spies... is not a well oiled machine.

    So far.