Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom’s simultaneous glorification of hacking and slamming of state surveillance is blatant hypocrisy

So goes the subheading on a superb Listener editorial:

He has cleverly presented himself and the Internet Mana coalition as appealingly subversive – the sexiest place for young people wanting to shake up mainstream politicians. Beyond this, however, the platform is incoherent.

On what planet is it noble and ethical to deplore surveillance of private individuals by the state for security purposes, while at the same time glorifying the hacking of private individuals’ information by those with personal agendas, such as him?

On what planet would you then be part of a criminal conspiracy to hack a private citizen’s emails and have a very select few published in a book, leaked over the Internet and fed to the media?

Dotcom’s bragging of having hacked into Helmut Kohl’s financial rating and changing it because he didn’t like the then German Prime Minister caused the media coverage of IM’s campaign opening to degenerate into farce. The media was entirely right to ask questions about his personal ethics regarding the burgling of people’s private online information. The clear implication of Dotcom’s having boasted from the campaign launch stage about hacking Kohl is that he still regards it as pretty clever.

At the same time, he will later this month be wheeling up heavyweight anti-state-surveillance campaigners Glenn Greenwald and, by video link from abroad, Julian Assange, to ballast his own credibility. Hypocrisy abounds in any campaign, but this is the most blatant example this election.

But it will work.  You know why?  Because the media will lap it up.   There will be no filtering this through any kind of decency, or best-interest for the country kind of way.  The media love a circus, and Kim Dotcom is bringing the clowns.   Read more »


Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

The thin veneer is peeling off the Internet MANA “movement”

Georgina Beyer, bless her cotton socks, is not for sale:

issue74Internet Mana candidate Georgina Beyer has gone rogue and come out swinging at her party’s so-called visionary, Kim Dotcom.

She says [Kim Dotcom] is pulling the strings and is in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge.

Internet Mana’s the party that’s big on going big – big names, big productions, big personalities. But now it seems it’s got big problems too.

“Who is pulling the strings? Well, the big man himself,” says Ms Beyer.

Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP and New Zealand’s first transgender MP, is Mana’s candidate in the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga.

She believes Dotcom is tearing her party apart. Read more »

To whom it may concern

Our readers are seeing the main stream media for what they are

Re: Subscription to Sunday Star Times.

Today we cancelled our subscription to Sunday Star Times – a paper that we have subscribed to since 1990. We are no longer prepared to support a newspaper that has lost all sense of perspective and integrity.

We understand that in any society there are a broad range of views as to our societies and economies should function and the role of politics in that context. Historically the mainstream media has played a pivotal role in articulating and challenging those different perspectives to enable citizens to participate in the democratic process on an informed basis.

Sadly, that is no longer the case. It is unforgivable that your organisation has failed to fully and consistently investigate and challenge the corruption of New Zealand’s political process occasioned by a convicted criminal’s preparedness to fund a political party from funds that have been obtained questionably purely in order to remove an extraordinarily successful government of this country that is simply seeking to uphold the law and honour those international obligations that are so critical to a proper functioning, free thinking, law abiding first world economy

The illegal hacking of a private citizen’s email in order to deliberately disrupt New Zealand’s political process in the most dishonest and unbalanced manner imaginable Read more »

John Roughan: “Dotcom is a blowhard, like Slater”

If this election is different from any before, the reason might be that politics has only just come of age on the internet. The internet permits words and songs to be published to a wide audience without the costs of printed or broadcast media and without the professional editing that those costs require. It means that unfair and outrageous material can more easily contaminate an election.

Politicians and journalists have been told they have to have an online presence these days if they are to reach the widest possible audience.

I’m not so sure. “Social media” is good for friends and family to keep in touch, not so good for politics.

When I look down the pipe I usually see composed work being decomposed by bile and bad language. It’s a sewer. Nothing that happens down there seems to have much political impact unless the mainstream media picks it up.

Which they do, so it’s easy to understand why every political leader these days wants press attaches to keep in touch with potential allies in the wildly partisan blogosphere.

But the risks are high, not only from what these characters publish but from invasions of private communications that the net cannot keep secure.

This election has shown how damaging those can be if they are taken out of their intended environment and published on television or a printed page.

Like a devilish chant or black rap humour, the email can be made into something more nasty than it probably was.

Read more »

Fran O’ on David Cunliffe rising from the ashes

David Cunliffe finally injected himself into the election race this week with a confident – if not triumphal – performance in the first television leaders’ debate.

For long-time Cunliffe watchers this was hardly a surprise.

He has always excelled as a debater and did not (for once) overlay his performance with that occasional smirking hint of moral superiority which can make the bile rise.

That he managed to win the debate – despite Labour having been comprehensively knocked in two political polls in a row – was a triumph of discipline and will.

A lesser politician would have found it very difficult indeed to come off the back foot under the full glare of the cameras against New Zealand’s most popular Prime Minister.

What was a surprise – and again shouldn’t have been – was the lack-lustre performance of John Key.

Key has been knocked by the Dirty Politics revelations. Read more »

About political songs

Some wise advice from a music blogger at Fairfax…see MSM have blogs too.

Funny works, nasty backfires.

The band @Peace really screwed up. You only have to click on that Wiki link to see how they’re going to be remembered. They released a song threatening to kill John Key - and then went into a swift panic, explaining that it was really all about mobilising young voters. The rallying cry included reference to sleeping with Key’s daughter. It wasn’t (quite) a statement of rape – but it’s a blunt and nasty use of the term, it’s a leading statement – “one of these days I’m going to f*** your daughter”. It could be very easily construed as a threat, an act of violence.

Musicians and writers love to claim that freedom of speech is so important – the band’s frontman Tom Scott has asked us to respect his right to express his disappointment in the leader of the country.

But he’s only killed one thing here – the credibility of the left; this just makes it far too easy for the right and any right supporters to (further) paint the left as a bunch of crackpots – conspiracy theorists, loons.

Read more »

Kim Dotcom roundup

Getty / via CNBC

Getty / via CNBC

Got to the end of the day, and not a single mention of Kim Dotcom.  Wouldn’t want Tom and Jerry* to have to write off today as non-billable, so here goes:

First, will Dotcom crash the New Zealand dollar?

Do you think that’s a strange question?  Well, it’s what they are talking about overseas:

What on earth is the connection between Kim Dotcom – one of the world’s biggest internet pirates – and the New Zealand dollar, you ask?

Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the United States on piracy charges, launched a political party earlier this year to contest New Zealand’s general elections on September 30.

In late-May, his Internet Party entered an alliance with the Mana Party, a small party that advocates for the nation’s indigenous Maori, to improve his chances of gaining political clout.

Their joint party, Internet Mana, is gaining popularity among young voters and is in striking distance of the five percent threshold needed to guarantee representation in parliament, according to the One News-Colmar Brunton poll published on August 17.

“Fears that the infamous web entrepreneur Kim Dotcom may be starting to influence the New Zealand election is affecting the currency. Mr. Dotcom’s party has aligned itself with the Maori party and is polling at 5 percentage points – a big enough swing in New Zealand politics that could possibly give the ruling majority to the opposition Labour party,” Boris Schlossberg, Managing Director of FX Strategy at BK Asset Management wrote in a note.

“Such a move leftward would no doubt shake up the currency markets which have been caught by surprise expecting yet another win by the National party that would maintain the economic status quo,” he said.

I think fears of Internet Mana taking 5% are overstated, but I suppose they are trying to avoid the argument that Kim Dotcom has bought a sitting Maori electorate MP.

(As I write that, I can’t believe I’m writing it.  It’s true.  It really is, and there is NOTHING anyone is doing about it.  Anyway, Tom and Jerry, before you get too excited, the proof of this has been presented to the police, so I’m fairly sure you can’t use it in a defamation case)

Read more »


Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Karl du Fresne on Dirty Politics

No wonder Giovanni Tiso wants Karl du Fresne silenced.

Look at this analysis of dirty politics:

What makes me suspicious is that whoever hacked Slater’s emails subsequently began drip-feeding them on Twitter in a carefully phased operation obviously calculated to cause maximum political damage. As TV3 political editor Patrick Gower pointed out, that required a high degree of political and media savvy.

Suspicion has fallen on Kim Dotcom (hardly surprising, given that he boasted at the weekend about hacking the German chancellor’s credit rating), but both Dotcom and Hager strenuously deny his involvement.

Whoever’s responsible, it began to look less like the work of someone who had spontaneously attacked Slater’s email account out of anger at the “feral” headline, and more like an example of the political “black ops” that Hager supposedly despises.

Hager’s role in the affair has largely escaped critical scrutiny. He has been a trenchant critic of clandestine surveillance of private communications in the past – indeed, wrote a book about it. Yet here he is, using stolen emails to write a book whose publication is timed to derail a party he obviously opposes.

Read more »