Well, I told you so, didn’t I? Freedom of the press and democracy have soon to be red-listed as endangered species.
Jon Stephenson, freelance investigative journalist from New Zealand, has accused the New Zealand Defence Forces on spying on him while he was in Afghanistan (see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10904564).
In my recent article What is a Crime? I wrote (refering to the Prism system):
The problem with this is: what constitutes a crime is a matter of definition. The definition can be changed by the government.
A government may define as a crime any of the following: belonging to the opposition, being a Jew, being black, being an intellectual, being poor, being democratic, being Muslim, being atheist, being homosexual, whatever. For each of these “crimes” there are contemporary or historic examples.
And in my article Tools of Power I wrote:
There is no guarantee such a tool would be used in the interest of the citizens and not against them. Only a free and lawful democratic society can make sure such a tool is not used against it but that same free, lawful and democratic society is, at the same time undermined by the presence of such a tool.
A tool that can be used against terrorists can also be used against opposition members whose only “crime” it is to have a different opinion about what the government should do. Governments must be seen as service providers for the people, but given to much power, they will turn into tyranny.
A tool of power in the hand of a government must therefore be controlled. If it is not controlled, it will very likely be misused. Therefore tools of power in the hands of governments have to be restricted to the possible minimum and have to be controlled strictly and publicly. If the power of the government is not restricted, you are on the way to dictatorship and state terror.
The New Zealand Herald refers to an article by Journalist Nicky Hager:
An internal Defence Force manual, which refers to “certain investigative journalists”, as “subversion” threats was also referenced by Hager’s article.
The manual, which was leaked, was issued as an order by the head of the Defence Force.
The manual said some journalists may be classed as hostile individuals as they pose a threat of subversion, according to the article.
“Counter intelligence” methods, which are “activities concerned with identifying and counteracting the threat to security” by such individuals or organisation can be sanctioned by the by the Defence Force chief in New Zealand.
Here we see a case of what I mean be redefinition of the criteria. Journalist have a tremendously important role in a democratic society. If what we read here in the papers is right, some NZ officials redefine them to be “subversive” and think they have a right to spy on them. So if a government does things it should not do and investigative journalists are trying to find out about it, they are “subversive”.
If the accusations are true, the real subversion is on the side of the NZDF and the government. In any case, the case illustrates my point. These systems are uncontrolled tools of power in the hands of governments who have no mandate at all from their citizens to create and use such a tools. People should take action, or democracy will soon be on its way out.
NZ citizens should protest against this and demand consequences. The first consequence should be that New Zealand leaves the “Five Eyes Alliance”.
(The picture is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kiwifugl.jpg).