Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"As soon as practicable"

Finally, five months after the election, we're getting an Intelligence and Security Committee:

Hon Gerry Brownlee to move, That under section 8 of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996, this House endorse the following as members of the Intelligence and Security Committee: Hon Christopher Finlayson and Hon Amy Adams, nominated by the Prime Minister under section 7(1)(c) of the Act; and David Shearer, nominated by the Leader of the Opposition under section 7(1)(d) of the Act.

Whether this meets the statutory requirement of appointment "as soon as practicable after the commencement of... Parliament" is left as an exercise for the reader.

Others, such as Andrea Vance and Paul Buchanen, have already highlighted that this ends any pretence of reform of "our" spy agencies. Instead, the statutory review that Peter Dunne sold his casting vote on the GCSB Bill in 2013 will be turned into a rubber-stamp for greater surveillance powers. I hope he's learned his lesson from that (see also: the Greens and sunset clauses).

Meanwhile, John Key has revealed his undemocratic attitudes, saying that an independent voice on the Intelligence and Security Committee during the review "could railroad the process" and that
"I don't think the committee was terribly constructive over the last few years, I think it was used less as a way of constructing the right outcomes for legislation, and more as a sort of political battleground."

Which is simply mind-boggling - firstly, that there is a predetermined (by the spy agencies and their US masters) "right outcome", and secondly that political decisions can be made by anything other than a political process.

But I guess that's the problem: our national security deep state and their proxies (of which the Prime Minister is now one) do not see these questions about our privacy and freedoms (or our participation in foreign wars, or in one-sided "free-trade" deals) as political decisions. Instead, they see them in purely technocratic terms as means to achieve some predetermined fixed "national interest". But by doing so, they deny us, the voters, any right to even have a view on such matters.

This has to change. And as the national security state won't reform itself, we need to elect politicians who will destroy it.