Flashback Interview Transcript: Chris Yong On #GCSB

FLASHBACK INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT:

Suzie Dawson (@endarken) interviews @chrisyong for @OccupyNZ

ENDARKEN: Hi Chris, thanks for talking to Occupy New Zealand today. We had a great time at the candidate selection for The Internet Party.

CHRIS YONG: Wasn’t it something else?

ENDARKEN: It was amazing! We thought your speech was really standout because of your references to Snowden, and also to the GCSB movement last year and the way that it inspired you. I’m really interested to know what you think about the Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone statements that came out today, where they mentioned that hundreds of devices can be surveilled by the state due to any one warrant. What impact do you think that has for New Zealanders?

CHRIS YONG: OK, well first of all, we’re talking about warranted searches, but we’re also talking about the fact that it can go two hops wide. In my opinion, that’s just too far. It’s one thing that if there is a legal reason to find out information, and there’s a warrant for it, OK, that can be acceptable and understood. But when you’re going two hops wide, you are going to catch a whole heap of innocent people in this grand spy information gathering network and possibly innocent people can be dragged… well.. they could be connected to something which they don’t even know. Data is all about how you interpret it. When there’s too much data and someone is trying to fit an agenda to that data, it’s just bad news. So, two hops – far too wide, far too much.

ENDARKEN: So what can we do to take back possession of our data in New Zealand? How do we get away from being pigeon-holed into the databases of corporations?

CHRIS YONG: Look, I think… one of the revelations that has come out recently is just, for starters, getting secure in every single device that you use. Find out, all the sites, all the apps, what you can do to protect yourself from that easy level of spying. I mean, obviously there’s the next level again, where they’re suggesting people can go in through the backdoors of these IT companies, and that’s a whole other issue that needs to be looked at. But in the short term, when it comes to the basic things you can do, just use secure connections.

(Cameraman: do we need an explanation on what the two hops is exactly?)

ENDARKEN: Sure! Do you want to tell us about the two hops – I know that it was Keith Alexander of the NSA who first let it be known that was two hops – we assume by default that the GCSB also implements two hops being that we are a member of the “Five Eyes” Echelon network. [CORRECTION: It has been suggested that this was actually first revealed by James Clapper, DNI]

CHRIS YONG: Well, OK, if you think about it, two hops is essentially… another way to think about it is two degrees of separation. Two degrees of separation will cover every single New Zealander in this country. What that effectively means is that if intelligence has targeted one person that they want to look at, they’re going to be able to gather data on every single person, they’re going to be implemented in this particular warrant. That is unnecessary. That is just… it’s, once again, they’re looking for a needle in a haystack and everyone is going to be considered a suspect. You could be completely innocent, I mean hell… two hops, you could hardly now someone, but you’ll be that connection.

ENDARKEN: We know that 88 New Zealanders AT LEAST were illegally spied on by the GCSB, but they won’t confirm who they are. Would you like to see that list of names released, would you like those people to know what happened to them?

CHRIS YONG: Absolutely! I mean look, the fact of the matter was, is that, under the law then, that was illegal OK. And I don’t agree with the change that happened in August of 2013. But the fact of the matter is, they got targeted, they were caught up in something that noone had a right to do. So at the very least, I absolutely think that they should be told about it and then, if we can do it, get a formal apology but at the very least they need to know that they were the target of this mass surveillance that was illegally performed.

ENDARKEN: And it would certainly bring a lot of people a sense of closure to know, exactly what did happen. Thanks so much for talking to us Chris, that’s awesome, we appreciate your time.

CHRIS YONG: You’re welcome.

SOURCE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRgSqghnK9o

FOOTAGE COURTESY OF @OCCUPYNZ, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Big Turn Out for #StepItUpNZ Progressive Workshops

Several members of our media team had the pleasure of attending the inaugural #StepItUpNZ workshop series at Auckland University this past weekend. The event brought together a who’s-who of environmental activism and digital media in New Zealand and we scored a couple of great interviews.

Firstly, us interviewing Generation Zero founder and StepItUp organiser Kirk Serpes (@KirkSerpes) about the event:

…and this must-watch interview with ex Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons where we discuss current political issues in New Zealand including the new surveillance bill being rammed through Parliament, and the fall-out from the Dirty Politics scandal.

Other speakers included Roger Fowler from Kia Ora Gaza, Simon Oosterman, Sue Bradford, Chris Hay, Nico Ward, Giovanni Tiso and Russell Brown.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Kiwis As Far As The Eye Can See Say #TPPANoWay

Once again, #TPPANoWay has taken the world by storm with a series of protest marches in more than a dozen New Zealand cities, in coordination with other anti-TPP groups worldwide

Trending #1 on Twitter in Auckland, #1 in New Zealand and #2 worldwide, citizens across the globe helped ensure the mainstream media’s virtual black-out of the event was rendered utterly impotent.

Topsy

It is very clear from our above live, unedited video footage of the Auckland event, that the turnout was significant and newsworthy. (To say the least!) Yet, other than misleading and disparaging articles down-playing actions in fringe locations, the mainstream media was mostly silent.

Their usual press of cameras were entirely missing in action, despite the iconic photo opportunities as Auckland, for a day at least, transformed itself into a mass of civil protest on a scale only previously seen in the likes of Lisbon, Rome, Madrid, Vancouver or Mexico City.

Indeed, from the below bird’s eye view posted by The Daily Blog editor Martyn Bradbury it is clear that the media’s reports of “1000” and “2000” attendees at the Auckland action, is laughable.

Meanwhile, the media resources pastebin that we sent to international media contacts got over 1,700 hits and this Greenpeace NZ initiative facilitated over 25,000 anti-TPP submissions to New Zealand politicians.

The #TPPANoWay Thunderclap reached 174% of the required support and a PledgeMe project to fly a banner over the event was also successful.

The OccupyNZ You Tube channel has more than a half dozen videos of the Auckland event and there are hundreds of pictures on the hashtag: #TPPANoWay and on the official event accounts: @ItsOurFutureNZ & @TPPANoWay

All in all we proved several things –

1. The World IS Watching
2. Misrepresentations and omissions by corporate media will not stop groundswell support building, and
3. Together we are unstoppable. Another world IS possible.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Sweeping The Globe: #MillionMaskMarch Impossible To Ignore

Over 400 cities worldwide demonstrated what a REAL “Wave of Action” looks like, celebrating Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th) by congregating in major city centres the world over, to spread messages of awakening to their fellow citizens and commemorate the growth of the Anonymous movement.

Becoming ever larger with each passing year, the Million Mask March (known as MMM) 2014 marks the first major penetration of the event in mainstream media, who had tried so desperately hard to black-out MMM in previous years.

With this year’s event covered by Reuters and The Guardian, and not just RT, it does seem that the MSM worm is turning.

And as the BBC have now learned the hard way – if you refuse to cover thousands of protesters converging on a major city centre, they may well just bring their grievances to your front doorstep, leaving you little choice but to acknowledge their presence.

Even the alleged (and very familiar) reports of post-event manipulation of Google results could not suppress the massive onslaught of citizen and independent media, as participants have long since learned to become the media, replacing the inauthentic  filtered echo chambers of the past, with their own authentic and untrained voices.

As usual, ex-CIA agent Ray McGovern discussing events on RT, is a total must-watch:

As is this extremely powerful video from London, where the crowds of protesters swelled into the tens of thousands, marching on a half-dozen locations simultaneously, and vastly outnumbering the police present:

Also check out this awesome picture montage video already up on Vimeo. Lovely stuff.

A collection of the best of the event media we have seen so far is below, for your viewing pleasure.

Section 1: Citizen Media (by city)

Auckland, New Zealand:

(There is also 7 short video solidarity statements from Kiwi Anons published in @endarken‘s article about covering #MMMAKL found here: “We Must Never Sanitise Or Homogenise Our Messages Or Our Pain)

Glasgow, Scotland:

Peru:

Belgrade, Serbia:

Halifax, Canada:

Ferguson, Missouri:

Japan:

Detroit, Michigan:

Section 2: Established Media

The Independent: ‘Thousands Gather For Anti-Capitalist Protest In London’

The Dallas Observer: ‘Dallas’ Anonymous Million Masks March’

TruthDig: Million Mask March – The New Face of Protest

The Daily Dot: Inside Anonymous’ Million Mask March

Section 3: Complaints of Media Silence/Bias

Section 4: Other Significant Videos

A section of the Washington DC march splintered off to the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building – causing some police there to have a complete meltdown before the crowd all put their hands in the air and chanted “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” Ferguson-style.

Elsewhere in DC, protesters made a stop at the Monsanto HQ. Monsanto is of course the pro-GMO corporation widely believed to be responsible for the decline of the global bee population.

And the icing on the cake: a video shot from inside the BBC headquarters in London, with swathes of British protesters massing outside in anger at the BBC’s frequent and famous suppression of anti-government protest events. Not this time, though!

We also love this amazing photo but have been unable as yet to establish where it is from; if you know, please leave a comment and tell us!

Thank you and solidarity to all who participated in the #MillionMaskMarch, around the globe.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

 

Global Peace and Justice Auckland Hold Anti-War Rally

Global Peace and Justice Auckland held an anti-war rally in Aotea Square, Auckland, yesterday followed by a silent march downtown to Britomart.

We were there and pleasantly surprised to see ex Labour leader David Shearer speaking passionately about his experiences in Iraq and in Palestine.

We were also able to snag a quick interview with another ex Labour leader, Phil Goff, about his past experiences in activism and his opinion of ISIS and of Islam.

Despite the short notice (we only heard about the event the night before) and the relentless pouring rain, the spirit of the rally was really good. Thousands of passersby on the city streets stopped to watch the march go past, with several cars tooting their support as we passed, and the event unfolded without any issues whatsoever, dispersing peacefully.

For more pics and commentary on the event please check #GPJA on Twitter.

 

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

Snowden, Assange, Greenwald and Kim Dotcom Speak in New Zealand

New Zealanders burst into spontaneous cheers, stomped the floor until the floorboards shook and gave standing ovation after standing ovation to Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Amsterdam, Kim Dotcom and Laila Harre tonight.

You would not know this, however, from the national NZ media coverage, which appeared as institutionally embroiled in #DirtyPolitics as ever. The Kim Dotcom smear campaign exposed by Nicky Hager’s book remains operational, and complicit elements of the media are eager to continue  to spoon-feed New Zealanders the same tripe, irreverent of, or oblivious to, the public’s awakening.

Our (above) playlist of videos from the night contain countless real stories, none of which are represented by the elitist “yawn” of corporate media, who instead of discussing the multitude of serious issues being raised, instead deemed themselves arbiters of whether or not #MoT lived up to their particular preconceptions based on their own prior wanton and largely irrelevant speculation and in some cases coloured by ulterior motive.

As always however, their complacency and single-mindedness left them wide open to being scooped by independent media. We were there and made sure the whole world was watching.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Our pastebin of event media resources here

Internet Party of NZ Crowd-Sources Candidate Selection – Live!

A mainstream TV outlet recently referred to Occupy NZ Media as “cynical protesters”, yet despite our inherent distrust of electioneering and politicking, we are proud to have been present for the crowd-sourced candidate selection event held by the new paradigm political organisation, the Internet Mana Party of New Zealand.

While outlets like NewstalkZB (which we have affectionately renamed ‘Stratfor FM‘) and other establishment media have seemingly morphed into full-time Internet Mana Party disinformation channels virtually overnight, the rest of New Zealand has been eye-witnessing historic moments in Kiwi politics.

20 crowd-sourced candidates that people can actually relate to packed out the Q Theatre on Queen Street yesterday, and we live tweeted the event on @OccupyNZ. The event was also livestreamed nationwide and internationally, and we were pleased to see a sign language interpreter (apparently a Party Member) present on stage throughout, providing a separate stream for the hearing impaired.

Top Kiwi rapper, friend of Occupy NZ and Aotearoa Is Not For Sale MC King Kapisi gave a rousing speech, hyping the crowd and congratulating everyone for caring enough to participate in active efforts at change rather than just zoning out in front of our TV’s watching sports!

One of the most heartening parts of the candidate selection process was seeing real people that all Kiwis would interact with in their daily lives, making it through to the shortlist.

We were blessed with the opportunity to meet candidate Herena Meteka and her lovely daughters, who she says are her “I.T. geniuses”, that finally convinced her to join Twitter only yesterday!

Alongside the neighbourhood Mum and girl/boy-next-door candidates, was a very familiar face – a fellow Occupier!

Last year our #GCSB hashtag-activism quickly spiralled into a broad-spectrum bi-partisan political movement and apparently it has had a major impact on several of the candidates, who raised #GCSB-related state spying as a significant issue facing New Zealanders.

While many of the candidates mentioned #GCSB as an influence, none did moreso than the very humble and very edifying Chris Yong – an accomplished Kiwi musician, DJ and entertainer that is fast approaching Russell Brand levels of awake.

We were extremely psyched that he accepted our spontaneous interview request and he answered our extremely contemporary and unorthodox questions incredibly well.


After the event we were over the moon to get cuddles with old school wahine toa Laila Harre. Recently announced as Internet Party Leader, Laila is a stalwart of Kiwi activism with legendary roots that stretch back decades.

Many were surprised that the Internet Party chose a woman for its leader but we think it is a brilliant strategic move as Laila’s resolve and diverse support base are perfect for shaking the status quo from their stagnation.

Back in October of 2011, prior to the last General Election, an original member of the Occupy Auckland Media Team said –

“With the upcoming General Election, and what I witnessed yesterday, I have very real concerns that this apolitical occupation’s impact risks being diminished, by political factions seeking to further their own agenda. This is not the place for electioneering.

We are the 99%… not the 5% that supports party X, the 15% that supports party Y, or the 40% that supports party Z, but the 99% that makes up our society, from all sorts of cultural, political & spiritual backgrounds.”

 

This is a very true and insightful statement. And it was on that very basis that after the multiple and quite possibly illegal, co-ordinated violence of the “evictions” of Occupiers that we collectively decided to open our media platforms to use by all of the 99%.

We have covered developments about and actions by the Green Party of New Zealand, the Mana Party, the Internet Party, the Pirate Party(s) here and internationally, the Wikileaks Party, and a handful of other minor parties that may or may not have ever reached threshold to formally establish.

Just as we have covered dozens of actions by social justice and environmental organisations including Greenpeace, Global Peace and Justice Aotearoa, Auckland Action Against PovertyKia Ora Gaza, Aotearoa Is Not For Sale, NZEI, MUNZ, and other Labour Unions, and countless more.

We have amplified, brought attention to and given a voice to thousands of Kiwis, some unaffiliated with any organisation, many of whom no mainstream platform would give voice to at all.

The reason we chose to do this is two-fold. Firstly because all of the above are part of the 99% and we do not wish to discriminate or become access gatekeepers to the platforms which we feel the 99% inherently owns.

The second is because we feel that any and all efforts to effect social change and progress in New Zealand, and any and all actions that attempt to regain our independent status and sovereignty, deserve equal support.

In Roshi Joan Halifax’s “This Is What Compassion Looks Like” essay about Occupy Wall Street, she says;

It calls to mind the words that Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy spoke at the 2003 World Social Forum:

‘Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.'”

 

Therefore we make ourselves available in solidarity and appeal to every New Zealander to set aside the labels, colours and old paradigms which were constructed expressly to divide us, and to instead embrace the reality; that we are all born into the same mess – one which we cannot fix without each other.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

“They Got The TV – We Got The Truth” – Boots Riley Visits NZ

With Boots Riley‘s visit to Auckland last week, we again discovered no matter how much you’ve heard of someone second-hand, it can all become completely irrelevant once you meet them in person.

Despite having a quarter million views on his latest video (featured below) Boots arrived with zero airs and graces, blending in within minutes, as if we’d always known him.

Yet what else could we expect, from the man who rapped:

“They’ve got the TV –
we’ve got the truth.
They own the judges –
We’ve got the proof!”

The gig was hosted by the Mana Movement for the People, in Mangere, and it was The People who turned out for him on the night.

Gig organisers/activists kick it with Boots Riley after the gig

Gig organisers & activists kick it with Boots after the gig

We spent the afternoon with Boots, interviewing him at his press conference and spending time with him before and after the show.

(Our video interview playlist is below: transcripts to follow)

There were plenty of familiar faces on the night, having a welcome respite from the daily grind of putting their lives on the line to fight for human rights and social justice.

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Fresh watermelon backstage

The highlight of the set was definitely this acoustic version of ‘The Guillotine’ – apparently the first time this song has been performed live with just voice, guitar and bongos.

Our earliest memories of Boots related to his participation in the famous West Coast Port Shutdowns of November and December, 2011, where hundreds of thousands of striking members of the public shut down the Ports of Oakland and other ports across the West Coast of the USA.

Shout out to the awesome @nishneb for sending us this nostalgia clip of Boots speaking at the December 12 Port Shutdown II, an event we witnessed live thanks to Occupy Oakland livestreamers.


Video streaming by Ustream

(Click here for our archive of articles about Occupy Oakland)

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Full House At Kim Dotcom Anti-Spying Meeting; March On #J27 #GCSB

Update 23 March 2014: the below article was never able to be finished due to constant technical interference with our WordPress install and domain. Although our media team has continued to livetweet and livestream events and promote them on various social media platforms in the interim, this blogsite was inoperable and the domain was then taken by “DEA Media” (!!!!) which has reset the share counters to zero on many articles which had in excess of 1000 shares on them. This has had the unfortunate effect of (presumably) breaking tens of thousands of weblinks to articles on the OccupySavvy.com domain. At some point we will update the gap in this blog with archive material from events covered but until we have the resources to do so we will be blogging new material going forward. 

After 2 hours of straight writing, this blogpost had a word count of over 1000 words when we pressed publish. That then changed itself to 0 words and all our text disappeared from the post, all our autosaves disappeared, and the working draft we had been using has also disappeared. (UPDATE: We are slowly fixing this post now so please check back over the course of the next hour)

The entire article was about #GCSB #J27 and all the people in the pics. At 2pm NZST we will be covering the Auckland anti-spying action organised by Kim Dotcom, @CitizenBomber and others, in Aotea Square, historic home of Occupy Auckland. Please keep eyes on @OccupyNZ @endarken @azlancat @keyweekat @TheDailyBlogNZ @CitizenBomber & @Redstar309z

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Massive NZ March Coverage – NZEI ‘Stand Up For Kids’

Today, more people than the GCSB could ever perform illegal surveillance on came together for arguably the largest anti-privatision & anti-austerity action we have witnessed to date.

Nearly 10,000 people packed Queen Street & Aotea Square in Auckland Central today, to Stand Up For Kids. Children are the all too frequent victims of poverty in New Zealand and nothing about the current ruling Government’s education policy is improving that.

To the contrary, charter schools are leading us down the same terrible path as elsewhere in the world where their institution has already further devastated struggling communities.

Education should not be for sale. We do not want corporations owning our schools any more than we want them owning our prisons. Some things are too precious to have their integrity teetering on the balance of a profit margin.

Occupy Dunedin also rocked it. A show of force from our Southerner brothers and sisters:

Occupy Dunedin Dunedin Stands Up For KidsDunedin TeachersMeanwhile, in the capital; we were sent this utter GEM of a 1 min vid from Occupy Wellington;

Jai Bentley-Payne said it best. “Austerity is a scam!” But these guys aren’t far off. Asset sales are BULLSHIT!

Congratulations NZ for getting off your backsides and making noise. There are more of us doing it by the day and it is extremely heartening to see.

When people’s rights are under attack; stand up, fight back!