Kim Dotcom’s ‘Moment of Truth’ at the Auckland Town Hall drew a large crowd, but it failed to produce the promised ‘mega bomb’.
The sympathetic crowd listened enthusiastically as journalist Glen Greenwarld and well-know whistle blowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange spoke.
Internet Mana Party co-leader Laila Harre began by saying they wanted to “celebrate and to protect our democracy” and that “800 people had been turned away at the door”.
Greenwarld said that the New Zealand Government was engaged in an illegal programme of mass surveillance and data collection that was “officially embraced and adopted” at the highest level.
The event focused on the New Zealand’s Government’s role in information-gathering and the operation of its intelligence agencies, particularly the GSA.
The large turnout showed significant interest in the event and what was to be revealed. People started lining up two hours before the event began.
Dotcom was largely quiet, speaking briefly towards the end of the meeting, saying that websites such as his new venture Megaupload were important if we want to maintain civil liberties. “There are two ways to fight mass surveillance: politically and with technology,” he said.
Rhetoric and ideology was abundant. Much of the night was spent attacking Prime Minister John Key.
There was no smoking gun produced that would directly prove Key was involved in any wrongdoing. The event was over-sold and undelivered.
It was a show of smoke and mirrors, which undermined the broader issues regarding how our intelligence services operate.
One particular moment that captured the essence of the night was when Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was interrupted by a woman vacuuming right behind him as he spoke on a video link from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
It was unclear if the vacuuming was surveillance-related or a part of systematic meta-data collection.