Monday, 6 October 2014

Police raid on Hager's home

The police raid on Nicky Hager's home, seeking information relating to the identity of the hacker Rawshark, has provoked perfectly predictable reactions from the left and from the right.

From the right comes predictable gloating and strange claims that Hagar is getting his comeuppance for Dirty Politics.  Which overlooks the whole public interest argument around the issue, and suggests a really worrying short-sightedness on their part.  If it is okay for the apparatus of the state to target people who annoy a right wing government, presumably they accept it would be okay for the same apparatus to target people who annoy a left wing government.

El Salvadorian death squads, Pinochet's Chile and Stalinism legitimised in one ill thought through outpouring of right wing partisan gloating!

Or, to put it another way:

And that's okay if you're on the unprincipled, tribalist right.  As long as the police are stamping on lefties, its okay.  And it could never be any other way, could it?

From the left comes the wild assertion that this is the action of a police state and an attempt by the Powers That Be to suppress dissent and opposition.  This is, on current evidence, a paranoid over-reaction.

The police were not targeting Hagar himself.  They were looking for evidence identifying Rawshark.

Hagar is not being targeted for publishing Dirty Politics.  He is being investigated as the recipient of stolen information.  Stolen in the public interest, but still stolen. That's a crime. The police are seeking evidence relating to a crime and Hager has already acknowledged they are quite right to do so. He just thinks the police are being more than necessarily stupid thinking he would leave Rawshark’s name on a post it note stuck to his computer screen.

Hager has already said the police had warrants and were empowered under law to search his property for evidence. The law may be draconian, but the actions of the police appear to be covered by it.

Rawshark committed a crime. No-one denies that. It was (probably) in the public interest but it is still a breach of the law. A complaint appears to have been made and the police are investigating it.

That is not controversial.

What may be controversial is the enthusiasm with which they have gone about the job. A bit like Slater's OIA requests, this one seems to have been suspiciously expedited.

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