Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Chewbacca defence

People may remember this old South Park classic. Faced with a case he cannot win, a lawyer attempts to distract the jury by introducing irrelevant material and claiming it's a defence.

That's pretty much what John Key has done over allegations that the GCSB spied on New Zealanders. Confronted with documentary evidence of a GCSB program called SPEARGUN to tap the Southern Cross Cable and spy on all our international internet traffic, Key declassified and released documents relating to a completely different GCSB spying program. SPEARGUN is about tapping cables. Key's CORTEX is about using off-the-shelf software to protect select government departments and key businesses from malware. There's no relation between the two. Like the wookie says, "it does not make sense".

But Key doesn't need it to make sense. Instead, he just wants to create the impression that he's presented a defence, relying on people's respect for his office and belief that the Prime Minister of New Zealand wouldn't blatantly lie to people's faces to do the rest. He's used this tactic before, successfully. Hopefully, with so much on the line, it will fail this time.