New Zealand Police Raid Home Of Reporter Who Embarrassed Gov't Officials & Was Working On Snowden Documents

from the freedom-of-the-press? dept

Apparently, the New Zealand government is not a huge fan of press freedom. The national police force recently raided and ransacked the home of Nicky Hager, an independent journalist who has been a thorn in the current leadership’s side for some time now.

In August, one month before New Zealand?s national election, Hager published Dirty Politics, which showed that key figures in Prime Minister John Key?s National Party were feeding derogatory information about their opponents to a virulent right-wing blogger named Cameron Slater. Hager published evidence in the form of incriminating emails, provided by a hacker, demonstrating coordination between National Party officials and Slater. The ensuing scandal forced the resignation of a top Key ally, Justice Minister Judith Collins, and implicated numerous other National Party officials and supporters. Despite the scandal, the National Party won a resounding victory in the election, sending Key to a third term as prime minister.

And then, once safely back in power, the government wasted little time:

On October 2?less than two weeks after the election?detectives from a regional ?major crime team? came to Hager?s Wellington home armed with a search warrant authorizing them to seize anything that might lead them to the identity of his source for Dirty Politics. The warrant shows that prior to the raid, a police ?intelligence analyst? had studied Hager?s media appearances in an effort to discover information about his sources for the book, taking particular note of references Hager made to knowing the source?s identity.

Over at The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher note that Hager was also working with them on some Snowden documents as they concerned what was happening in New Zealand. As you may recall, right before the election, Greenwald had used some Snowden documents to show that Prime Minister Key had lied about mass surveillance — leading Key to petulantly lash out with ad hominems at Greenwald, referring to him as a “loser.” Greenwald made it clear that they would likely be revealing more about New Zealand’s activities — and now wonders if that might be another reason why Hager was raided, once the government figured out who Greenwald was working with.

Either way, the search seems quite excessive and seriously raises questions about New Zealand’s respect for the freedom of the press:

Once they entered the property, detectives spent ten hours sifting through Hager and his family?s personal effects, making copies of any USB storage devices they found and seizing Hager?s computer, personal documents, a camera, a dictaphone, CDs, and dozens of other items?not to mention his daughter?s laptop, cellphones, and iPod.

The whole thing seems fairly crazy, and clearly done to intimidate Hager and others for daring to actually call out the government’s bad behavior. These are the kinds of actions that we’re supposed to believe no longer happen in modern democracies, but they seem to be happening on an increasingly frequent basis.

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Comments on “New Zealand Police Raid Home Of Reporter Who Embarrassed Gov't Officials & Was Working On Snowden Documents”

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David says:

Re: Re:

Oh, but we have democracies. We also have centuries of postindustrial expertise in mass manipulation. People are conditioned for heeding the advertising industry or they are ostracized beginning in kindergarten.

If they weren’t, people would have everything they wanted when investing a work life of 10 years. A capitalist nightmare.

So the democracies are worth shit because people do what they are told. All in all, they overwhelmingly take one of the well-approved choices.

Hitler got into power using the “Entitlement Act” that the parliament was pushed to pass under scaremongering threats calling for the necessity of suspending the constitution in order to strongly deal with a purported national scale emergency.

Any similarities to current developments are not coincidental.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And what annoys me about it is they like it this way. If they didn’t, they’d stop paying attention to it. Remember the guy who told me to think for myself, then repeated right-wing talking points? That’s what we’re up against: institutionalized stupidity.

We’ve got to break out of our tribal mindsets and stop being afraid to go against the grain because we’re afraid of each other.

United we stand, divided we fall, people.

Anonymous Coward says:

“These are the kinds of actions that we’re supposed to believe no longer happen in modern democracies, but they seem to be happening on an increasingly frequent basis.”

They claim to do this now to go after the “hacker”. In reality, all they are doing is justifying something they don’t think is right. To the governments of today, catching the bad guys is the only thing that matters. Current thought is that law enforcement’s job is to protect the innocents by catching the bad guys (no matter how much collateral damage is done to the innocents). Once you lose the idea that protecting innocent people is #1, you’ve lost the whole point. You wind up doing things that have chilling effects you may not have ever meant to do.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Politicians? I might think they’re simply an ingredient in the recipe. We are meant to govern ourselves and yet every day another person is born who will grow up to believe that they are meant to govern much more then themselves.

Whatever “it” is that does go down I can imagine that any surprise will be fleeting and from those that knew better only to hide the truth from themselves the surprise will be a class act.

New Zealand is being led by, essentially, a gang of thieves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Reiterates the need for police accountability

The police ought to be bound by law to make the search as minimally disruptive as possible. Spending ten hours and stealing all the family’s electronics is not minimal. Yes, stealing, because who really believes they’ll get the electronics back in a timely manner and equivalent condition?

Anonymous Coward says:

for someone who is supposedly the leader of a nation, Key seems to act very much like a kid! as soon as someone says something he doesn’t like, rather than show the qualities he should have, he goes off into a childish rant! add that to the things he said when he met Obama and i think the NZers need to be careful what he is entrusted with!

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

I Should Point Out That ...

… National does not have a majority of the seats in Parliament. That means that any laws it passes, will have to be done with the cooperation of other parties, who do often represent widely-differing points of view.

So, you see, we do have checks and balances in our little country after all.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: I Should Point Out That ...

Enter the “laws of nations”. Who’s at the party now?

The Common Ground: pedophilia, terror, anonymity and ?copyrights?. ( or could that simply be wrapped up under control mechanism? like terrorizing journalists and counter-culture entrepreneurs and their families ) Five eyes indeed.

Your little country is just as fucked as the next at this pace.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:Enter the "laws of nations". Who's at the party now?

We stayed well out of Bush’s (mis)adventure in Iraq (unlike Australia). And we still have our anti-nuclear legislation intact after close to 30 years. Both of which annoyed the US somewhat at the time. Yet it has been the one to restore the defence ties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I Should Point Out That ...

To be fair, they missed it by a Tiny ammount, which is more than made up for by the minor parties that only meaningfully exist due to shenanigans with “strategic” voting and thresholds which exist entirely to sabotage small parties unwilling to tow the line. And they control the ministries. So their ‘minority’ is pretty meaningless.

tehconz says:

Not telling the whole story

This article really doesn’t tell the whole story. Whether Nicky Hager qualifies as a journalist or not is up for debate, he wrote a book, not an article for a recognized journalistic outlet. I notice NZ Herald, who also had contact with rawshark has not been raided. His source is a criminal hacker and the police were investigating in response to a complaint from the victim of that crime, not at the behest of an embarrassed government as the article baselessly suggests.

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