A quick note on the latest explosion of Kim Dotcom snafu-itis on the part of the New Zealand authorities.
The GCSB seemingly were comfortable with the assurance of NZ police that Kim Dotcom and co-accused Bram Van Der Kolker were not New Zealand permanent residents (or were “foreign nationals”, of which more later) and hence exempt from prohibitions on domestic surveillance, and so, it’s been reported, they happily continued to intercept the communications of the men up until January 20, the day of the big fist-pumping raid in Coatesville.
And yet their friends in the US seemed not to be troubled by such confusion.
In the big indictment filed in a US court against MegaUpload and a number of its executives, among them Dotcom and Van Der Kolker, and dated January 5 – that’s more than a fortnight before the raid, and the apparent cessation of what now appears to have been illegal surveillance – the two men are clearly labelled as NZ residents.
KIM DOTCOM, who has also been known as KIM SCHMITZ and KIM TIM JIM VESTOR, is a resident of both Hong Kong and New Zealand, and a dual citizen of Finland and Germany …
BRAM VAN DER KOLK, who has also been known as BRAMOS, is a resident of both the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Kim Dotcom is widely reported to have formal Hong Kong residency. I’m assuming BvdK has formal Dutch residency. But all the same, you might argue that “resident” in this sense could be read as referring simply to where the individuals happen to be resting their heads – rather than any formal status. I doubt that, but either way, should it not have set alarm bells ringing among NZ’s spooks and police?
A final thought: the citizen-status description of Dotcom and Van Der Kolker above would tend to support their categorisation as “foreign nationals”. According to reports “the GCSB asked for assurances the men were all foreign nationals”.
But the “foreign national” status – which according to legal expert Graeme Edgeler is not a term widely used in New Zealand law – and is in this sense arguably not mutually exclusive from a permanent resident.
Is it possible the cockup, if we take the optimistic view that it was a cockup, stemmed from this?