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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  • icon
    rw (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:06am

    Your mistake is believing we still have Democracies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 17 Oct 2014 @ 12:00pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 19 Oct 2014 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re:

        "We also have centuries of postindustrial expertise in mass manipulation."

        This cannot be overstated. We are (particularly in the US) the most heavily propagandized people in history.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Pragmatic, 21 Oct 2014 @ 7:30am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 21 Oct 2014 @ 8:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "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."

            Yes. This is, in my opinion, the most important problem that we have, because it is impossible to fix anything else until we address that.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 12:59pm

      Re:

      And your mistake is believing we ever had democracies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:31am

    "These are the kinds of actions that we're supposed to believe no longer happen in modern democracies..."
    Neither is the expectation a bunch of brain dead voters would put such an asshole back into office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    David Muir (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:38am

    Seriously?

    It is very nice that the authorities had a proper search warrant. But look at the suspected offense: "Accessing a computer system for dishonest purposes". Is that even a thing? Don't they have anything like AshleyMadison in New Zealand?

    How could anyone put that on a search warrant with a straight face?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 1:20pm

      Re: Seriously?

      $$$ can staighten a face quite nicely

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Reality bites, 18 Oct 2014 @ 8:12am

      Feral pigs don't think much... they have more of a sneer on their snout.

      Don't expect a brainless pig to think out tough stuff like what oath they took and who to protect.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2014 @ 9:03am

      Re: Seriously?

      > "Accessing a computer system for dishonest purposes"

      Isn't that what this article is accusing Key et al have done here to Hager's computers? Can NZers do citizens arrests?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:39am

    These are the kinds of actions that we're supposed to believe no longer happen in modern democracies

    Inb4 'New Zealand is an Oligarchy' study is published

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:55am

    It happens in the US, too

    Turns out that cops don't like to have their violent, abusive bullying live-streamed very much: St. Louis Officer Who Called Activist’s Boss About Her Tweets Now Under Investigation by Internal Affairs

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 11:14am

    No surprise here. The majority of 1ˢᵗ world governments are a democracy in name only. The reality is that just like changing the words of the English language makes what is illegal legal, so to does changing the official meaning make all governments democracies to hear them talk. The actual practice is anything but.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Regret, 17 Oct 2014 @ 11:47am

    Biggest surprise?

    A Dictaphone?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 11:48am

    "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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 12:30pm

    When it all goes down Imagine the surprise on all the politicians faces when they are held accountable at the end of a noose, Something is coming and it's big and it will not stop, because it's the nature of people to want freedom without fear.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rapnel (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:04pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Reality bites, 18 Oct 2014 @ 8:11am

      Won't ever happen, Kiwi's are timid little flightless birds

      Just like the aussies... not much of a bird and not much fight in the bird.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 12:58pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Digitari, 17 Oct 2014 @ 1:05pm

    Definitions

    Ah HA, so that what the mean by "terrorist"

    "anything that brings discomfort to the ruling class"


    (I think the USA uses this definition as well)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 1:12pm

    A country whose sportsmen and women are known as the 'All Blacks'
    the ruling power and their toadies 'the Blackshirts'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 1:31pm

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:00pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rapnel (profile), 17 Oct 2014 @ 10:18pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 18 Oct 2014 @ 9:49am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2014 @ 7:35am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Reality bites, 18 Oct 2014 @ 8:08am

      Except the passive puppets pass what ever they are told to.

      NSA, spying ring a bell?.... your gov sold you out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 18 Oct 2014 @ 8:07am

    Kiwi's are timid little birds... don't expect to see a demonstration.

    Like the aussies the kiwis wouldn't kick up a fuss even if you started taking their kids for use in medical experiments.

    The two most passive cultures on the planet, NZ and Aust.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tehconz, 18 Oct 2014 @ 9:09am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 19 Oct 2014 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Not telling the whole story

      How do you determine who is a journalist and who isn't?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2014 @ 8:57pm

        Re: Re: Not telling the whole story

        I'm not sure how they did it in the past, but the current definition, according to several countries/governments, seems to be 'If you agree or side with the government you're a journalist, if you don't, you aren't'.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 18 Oct 2014 @ 10:54pm

    Don't blink!

    Ah New Zealand!

    I wondered when the Fifth Eye would start making noise.
    Far too quiet for a member of the White-Guy Global Spy Ring.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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