If you think Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have stopped attacking NSA, you haven’t been following them closely enough. While American media have largely lost interest in Snowden and Greenwald, the pair continue to campaign outside the United States against the intelligence agency.
Their most ambitious effort was in New Zealand, a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance with the U.S. and U.K. The center-right New Zealand government has been embroiled in accusations of illegal surveillance of Kim Dotcom, who grew wealthy running a file-sharing site and is now fighting extradition to the United States for copyright violations. As part of that fight, Dotcom dove into New Zealand’s national elections, hoping to unseat the two-term government and, in his words, “to close one of the Five Eyes.”
Snowden and Greenwald dove in with him, joining eagerly in campaign events sponsored by Dotcom. Greenwald used his new Omidyar-funded news site to release a lengthy article in the last week of the campaign; it accused New Zealand of working with NSA to conduct mass surveillance. When the prime minister denied the accusation, Snowden called him a liar.
The combination of carefully timed Snowden leaks and Dotcom’s millions looked potent. Dotcom even funded a new Internet Party, aligned with the small Mana party, which already had a seat in New Zealand’s Parliament.
Well, New Zealanders went to the polls today, and the results are in.
The biggest losers? Snowden, Greenwald, and Dotcom.
The prime minister whom Snowden accused of lying won an “overwhelming” victory that may give him the first outright majority for any New Zealand party in nearly twenty years.
Meanwhile, Dotcom’s Internet Party bombed, even costing its tiny ally the only seat it held in Parliament.