Kim Dotcom Part Two
John Key shoulder-tapped his boyhood friend Ian Fletcher about the vacancy at the top of the secret spy agency, the GCSB, as police were planning their raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion on January 20 2012.
As first reported on Scoop on October 1 2012, the five-member task force leading the operation for the Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ) admitted planning for the raid began in September 2011, the same month that Ian Fletcher was appointed to follow Sir Jerry Mataparae as head of the Government Communications Security Bureau.
But court documents reveal that the police received the FBI’s request for assistance with their investigation of Dotcom’s Mega Media Group several months earlier. Dubbed “Taskforce Debut” the OFCANZ group was actually set up early in 2011 in response to the FBI’s request, made under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) which includes “the execution of search warrants, seizure of assets, arrest of targets under warrant and the extradition of targets”.
The FBI’s investigation, underway since March 2010, led to indictments against Kim Dotcom and six associates being filed in the United States on January 5 2012. They alleged copyright infringements, racketeering and money laundering. Although central to Kim Dotcom’s status as Hollywood’s public enemy No 1, the copyright allegations were regarded as insufficient to support issuing arrest warrants for his extradition.
He had also been investigated by the domestic spy agency, the SIS, for his immigration application in 2010. So his status as a New Zealand resident, and therefore immune to GCSB’s eavesdropping, was known to the police. Although GCSB blamed the police for misinforming them about Dotcom’s residency status, Scoop has been informed that the police briefed the spy agency about the legal complication around September 2012.
The police say they needed the GCSB to help them synchronise the timing of their raid, between 6am and 8am on Friday January 20, with “termination activities” against MegaUpload in nine countries, all caught on video and viewed live at the FBI’s Multi-agency Virtual Command Centre in Washington DC.
“To assist it in determining the location, or likely location at any relevant time of the persons subject to arrest warrants it [Taskforce Debut] sought the assistance of the Government Communications Security Bureau.
“Under the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003, the GCSB is able, in the performance of its functions, to assist a public authority by supporting it (in this case NZ Police) to prevent or detect serious crime.”
But, as subsequently revealed and admitted, the GCSB’s involvement was unlawful which, although claimed later to be a mistake, was almost certainly known to all parties at the time.
In this situation, having a chief spy from outside the military-intelligence establishment could well be an advantage. The rejection of four candidates, presumably qualified and with relevant experience, and their replacement with an old boyhood friend of the prime minister’s could well be a coincidence.
On the other hand, even the most amateur conspiracy theorists will find it hard to resist an alternative narrative that explains all Mr Key’s mysterious evasions, omissions and brain fades.
Suppose Dotcom’s arrest and extradition was the clincher in the deal that secured Warner Bros’ agreement to produce The Hobbit in New Zealand. But any link to John Key, who led the negotiations with Warner Bros, would tend to confirm Dotcom’s claim, supported by the strong connection between Hollywood and US vice-president Joe Biden, of political persecution. So the prime minister had to be protected by having total deniability, leading to the completely implausible claim of not knowing about the most prominent resident in his own electorate until the day before the raid.