DomPost Opinions – Letters July 6 2013
Britain’s problems are very different
In comparing New Zealand’s population with that of Britain, Tony McMaster (Letters, July 2) overlooks some fundamental differences, which make nonsense of his argument in support of the ‘‘contentious spy bill’’ now before Parliament.
Contrary to his claims, it is he, rather than Opposition parties, who is ‘‘naive’’ and looks ‘‘silly’’.
Britain is infinitely more vulnerable and exposed to espionage than we are. Britain is part of the EU, which requires it to accept most people from other European countries. It also has a long-held, self-imposed obligation under which it has accepted many people from former colonies – large numbers of whom are now British citizens, as are their children and grandchildren.
Moreover, the geographical position of the British Isles, close to a vast continent, provides relatively easy access for illegal immigrants and other undesirables.
None of that applies to New Zealand, which makes us far less vulnerable to espionage.
Covert spying on our own citizens thus becomes virtually pointless. The bill has, in fact, made many of us justifiably doubtful about this Government’s real motives.
We’re headed for a ‘spookocracy’
Edward Snowden isn’t the only NSA whistleblower speaking to the media. Since 2004, former NSA cyber-security expert Russ Tice has alerted media outlets, including the New York Times, to the capture and storage of electronic communications. He personally saw evidence that then-senator Barack Obama and Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito were closely watched by the NSA.
Mr Tice’s revelations are germane to the current Intelligence and Security Committee hearings here (July 3).
Who’s the latest known victim of government surveillance? None other than sitting MP and government supporter Peter Dunne.
The unbridled surveillance of top government officials in New Zealand doesn’t yet have the chilling effect it has in the United States and Britain, as witnessed by the fact that opposition MPs here still dare oppose unlimited surveillance.
Legislation far more draconian has been rubber-stamped (passed unread) by US and UK legislatures with overwhelming cross-party support. Why? Because all sitting legislators and judges are ‘‘made’’ men and women, living in fear of the spymasters, the true controllers of government. Legislators and judges simply dare not oppose their masters.
Is that really what we want for New Zealand: a spookocracy?