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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Afghanistan, Russia, and US hypocrisy on a breath-taking, cosmic-scale

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That was then…

In December 1979, the then-Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to prop up a pro-Moscow, communist government. The reformist communist government of Babrak Karmal was threatened by insurgent groups, which were funded and supported by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and… the United States.

The US became a major supporter of Afghan rebels;

And the CIA began one of its longest and most expensive covert operations, supplying billions of dollars in arms to a collection of Afghan guerrillas fighting the Soviets. The arms shipments included Stinger missiles, the shoulder-fired, antiaircraft weapons that were used with deadly accuracy against Soviet helicopters and that are now in circulation among terrorists who have fired such weapons at commercial airliners. Among the rebel recipients of U.S. arms: Osama bin Laden.

Then-US President, Ronald Reagan in February 1983,  met with Afghan Mujahideen leaders;

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In March 1983, Reagan praised Afghan rebels as freedom fighters;

“To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson — that there are things in this world worth defending.

To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.”

By 1991,  Washington matched its rhetoric with cold, hard American dollars,  committing $250 million annually for the mujahidin;

Initially, the CIA refused to provide American arms to the resistance, seeking to maintain plausible deniability.(25) (The State Department, too, also opposed providing American-made weapons for fear of antagonizing the Soviet Union.(26) The 1983 suggestion of American Ambassador to Pakistan Ronald Spiers, that the U.S. provide Stingers to the mujahidin accordingly went nowhere for several years.(27) Much of the resistance to the supply of Stinger missiles was generated internally from the CIA station chief’s desire (prior to the accession of Bearden to the post) to keep the covert assistance program small and inconspicuous. Instead, the millions appropriated went to purchase Chinese, Warsaw Pact, and Israeli weaponry. Only in March 1985, did Reagan’s national security team formally decide to switch their strategy from mere harassment of Soviet forces in Afghanistan to driving the Red Army completely out of the country.(28) After vigorous internal debate, Reagan’s military and national security advisors agreed to provide the mujahidin with the Stinger anti-aircraft missile. At the time, the United States possessed only limited numbers of the weapon. Some of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also feared accountability problems and proliferation of the technology to Third World countries.(29) It was not until September 1986, that the Reagan administration decided to supply Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the mujahidin, thereby breaking the embargo on “Made-in-America” arms.

Support for the rebel groups with money and weapons succeeded. Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan by 1988/89. Following from America’s humiliating defeat in Indo-china in the 1970s, this was pay-back for the Soviets having supported North Vietnam in the conflict.

In the power-vacuum that followed, the anti-Western Taliban seized power.

Own goal, Washington!

This is now…

History seems to be repeating;

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Trump appointee,  Defense Secretary ‘Mad dog’ Mattis has accused Russia of supplying weapons to Afghan rebels;

Asked about Russia’s activity in Afghanistan, where it fought a bloody war in the 1980s and withdrew in defeat, Mattis alluded to the US’ increasing concerns.

“We’ll engage with Russia diplomatically,” Mattis said. “But we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries. For example, any weapons being funneled here [to Afghanistan] from a foreign country would be a violation of international law.””

Violation of international law“?!

When did the US worry about violating international law when it supplied $3 billion worth of weapons and other support for Afghan rebels to over-throw the Soviet-aligned government in Kabul?

Methinks our American cuzzies doth protest too much. International law seemed not too high on their list of priorities when they armed Afghan rebels in the 1970s and 80s.

Secretary Mattis should study recent history – or stick a big, bold “H” on his forehead.

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“H” being for hypocrisy.

Postscript

Meanwhile, according to Russian government-aligned RT News, ” President Donald Trump [is] contemplat[ing] sending more troops to Afghanistan“.

Because sending more troops will help.  Remind us again how that turned out for the US in Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s?

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References

Wikipedia: Afghanistan

Time: The Oily Americans

Wafflesatnoon: Misquote – Reagan Didn’t Compare Taliban to Founding Fathers

Reagan Library: Message on the Observance of Afghanistan Day

The Washington Institute: Who Is Responsible for the Taliban?

Google books: False Flags, Covert Operations, & Propaganda By Robert B Durham (p242)

CNN: Encore Presentation – Soldiers of God

Al Jazeera: US officials in Afghanistan suggest Russia arms Taliban

RT News: Bomb attack hits US base in Afghanistan as Defense Sec Mattis visits Kabul, casualties reported

Additional

Snopes.com: Freedumb Fighters

Al Jazeera: Afghanistan – The Soviet Union’s Vietnam

Previous related blogposts

PM unimpressed by protest outside his house – Afghans unimpressed by mass murder at weddings

The Sweet’n’Sour Deliciousness of Irony: Russia accused of meddling in US Election

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 26 April 2014.

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Letter to the editor – Bill English dives head first into the cover-up cess-pool

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Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date: 4 April 2017
subject: Letters to the editor

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The editor
The Listener
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On 3 April, our esteemed Prime Minister, Bill English, announced that there would be no independent commission of inquiry into allegations of civilian deaths, injuries, and deliberately destroyed homes in a SAS-led raid in Tirgiran Valley in 2010. It was also alleged that a  prisoner was handed over to Afghan security forces where torture was a well-known interrogation technique.

English’s excuse;

“After considering [that] briefing, [General Keating’s] letter to [Defence Minister] Gerry Brownlee and viewing video footage of the operation, I’ve concluded there is no basis for ordering an inquiry.”

I trust the facts as presented.”

English’s explanation for refusing an impartial inquiry defies credulity.

In effect, an instigator of an alleged crime – the NZ Defence Force – was asked to provide a reason to avoid an inquiry. The NZDF duly complied.

What did English expect, a full admission of wrong-doing by New Zealand forces in Tirgiran Valley? A written, signed confession?

Is this to be the new standard of accountability from National? That any allegations of impropriety is put to alleged offenders; they deny wrong-doing; and English accepts said denials without question?

Let us not forget that on 21 March, the NZDF responded to allegations of civilian deaths and injuries at Naik and Khak Khuday Dad with a flat-out denial;

“The investigation concluded that the allegations of civilian casualties were unfounded.”

Six days later, Defence Force chief, Tim Keating admitted “possible” casualties;

“Subsequent information, received after Operation Burnham indicated that civilian casualties may have been possible […] The investigation team concluded that civilian casualties may have been possible due to the malfunction of a weapon system.”

Both statements are currently viewable on the NZDF  website.

By resisting calls for an inquiry, English has implicated himself in a possible cover-up.

There is no other way to interpret his words.
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.-Frank Macskasy

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[address and phone number supplied]

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Appendix

Email addresses for newspapers for other budding letter-writers wanting to express their demand for a Commission of Inquiry. (Maximum word-length stated in brackets)

Daily Post (250 words)
editor@dailypost.co.nz

Dominion Post (200 word limit)
letters@dompost.co.nz

Listener (300 word limit)
editor@listener.co.nz

NZ Herald (200 word limit)
editor@herald.co.nz

Otago Daily Times (150 words)
odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz

The Press (150 words)
letters@press.co.nz

Southland Times (250 words)
letters@stl.co.nz

Sunday Star Times (150 word limit)
letters@star-times.co.nz

Waikato Times (200 words)
editor@waikatotimes.co.nz

 

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References

Radio NZ: ‘No basis’ for Afghan raid inquiry – PM

New Zealand Defence Force: NZDF Response To Book

New Zealand Defence Force: Speech notes for Press Conference on Operation Burnham (p6)

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the editor – Commission of Inquiry, NOW!

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 5 April 2017.

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Letter to the editor – Commission of Inquiry, NOW!

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: 31 March 2017
subject: Letter to the editor
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The Editor
Dominion Post
 
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Since the release of Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s “Hit and Run” on 21 March,  the public has been treated to denials and conflicting information from the NZDF.

On 21 March, the NZDF responded to allegations of civilian deaths and injuries at Naik and Khak Khuday Dad with this statement on their website;

“The investigation concluded that the allegations of civilian casualties were unfounded.”

Six days later, Defence Force chief, Tim Keating stated;

“Subsequent information, received after Operation Burnham indicated that civilian casualties may have been possible […] The investigation team concluded that civilian casualties may have been possible due to the malfunction of a weapon system.”

Both statements are currently viewable on the NZDF  website. They are irreconcilable.

Journalists Hager and Stephenson have presented considerable evidence to back up their investigation findings, including death certificates for those killed in the SAS-led raid.
 

Bill English has refused to undertake a commission of inquiry for reasons that remain unclear.

Until an Inquiry is held, there exists a cloud of suspicion hanging over the NZDF, and the SAS. This is not good enough, especially as there is ample evidence innocent people may have been killed.

What more does Mr English need to warrant an inquiry?

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-Frank Macskasy

(Address and phone number supplied)

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Appendix1

NZDF Statement 21 March 2017

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NZDF Statement 27 March 2017

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Appendix2

Email addresses for newspapers for other budding letter-writers wanting to express their demand for a Commission of Inquiry. (Maximum word-length stated in brackets)

Daily Post (250 words)
editor@dailypost.co.nz

Dominion Post, (200 word limit)
letters@dompost.co.nz

Listener (300 word limit)
editor@listener.co.nz

Otago Daily Times (150 words)
odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz

The Press (150 words)
letters@press.co.nz

NZ Herald (200 word limit)
editor@herald.co.nz

Southland Times (250 words)
letters@stl.co.nz

Sunday Star Times (150 word limit)
letters@star-times.co.nz

Waikato Times (200 words)
editor@waikatotimes.co.nz

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References

New Zealand Defence Force: NZDF Response To Book

New Zealand Defence Force: Speech notes for Press Conference on Operation Burnham (p6)

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 April 2017.

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PM unimpressed by protest outside his house – Afghans unimpressed by mass murder at weddings

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obama-drone-strikes- judge-jury-executioner

 

 

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On a quiet evening, in a leafy suburb in Auckland, around forty people gathered to hold a peaceful candle-lit vigil outside the mansion of multii-millionaire Prime Minister, John Key.

They were protesting at New Zealand’s complicit support of President Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan,  and Yemen.

Drones are remote controlled robot planes that carry deadly missiles packed with high explosives. When they detonate, unlike a single bullet, they will  injure, maim, or kill  anyone and everyone within a  60 metre radius. Sixty metres – nearly the width of a rugby field.

Drone strikes have been used to kill alleged “terrorists”. They have also killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

In December 2009, a drone attack in Afghanistan killed forty people, including twentytwo children and  twelve women, in a village called al-Majala.

Four years later, in December 2013, ten people were killed instantly and another five died later from their missile-inflicted injuries. All of them were innocent people on their way to a wedding in Yemen.

There are  reports of other wedding parties also being bombed by US drone strikes.

But even those who have been deliberately targetted by the American Empire, as designated “terrorist” targets, have not been charged, tried, or convicted of any crime. Unlike a man on a battlefield shooting at you, these so-called “terrorists” have not been proven guilty of any wrong-doing.

Question: when did it become OK for Americans to condone State-sanctioned executions, without due process of the law? When did it become ok to designate human beings as “terrorist targets”, without evidence,  and kill them?

Once upon a time, no US president would have countenanced such acts – State-sanctioned executions – without mass protests on the streets of every major city in that country.

After the terrible event that was September 11, the collective psyche of the American people  changed significantly. It became more fearful, anxious, and  susceptible to stories of terror. That fear has silenced Americans’ usual sense of what is right and what is unacceptable.

Americans have been terrorised into submission – but not by Al Qaeda terrorists.

With their silence, they condone the extra-judicial killing of human beings in other countries, without any cloak of justice.

This, in my mind, is even more terrible than the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers. This, to me, signifies that the United States of America has lost it’s ‘moral compass’.

Meanwhile, a group of people in Auckland held a quiet, peaceful, vigil outside the Prime Minister’s residence. The vigil was a protest at New Zealand’s participation of the so-called “Five Eyes Network”, which has most likely (according to John Key) provided useful information to the American Empire in it’s War of Terror against the rest of the world.

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PM Unimpressed by protest outside his house - NZ Herald

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– he was none too happy. Prime Minister John Key’s response was,

 “I’ve always been a bit of the view myself that it’s not really cricket.

He added,

“Yesterday was family day, the afternoon when I got back was Max’s birthday, and just generally speaking it’s our home environment.”

John Key and his family are lucky people. Lucky not to be living in Afghanistan or Yemen. Lucky  that it was Max’s birthday.

It could just as easily have been another country and another event.

Like a wedding party.

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References

Washington Post: Everything you need to know about the drone debate, in one FAQ

Al Jazeera: Yemenis seek justice in wedding drone strike

New York Daily News: Yemen officials: U.S. drone strikes convoy heading to wedding party, kills 15

The Nation: The US Has Bombed at Least Eight Wedding Parties Since 2001

NZ Herald:  PM unimpressed by protest outside his house

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john key supports state sanctioned murder

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 31 May 2014.

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Citizen A with Martyn Bradbury, Chris Trotter, & Selwyn Manning

– Citizen A –

– 19 July 2013 –

– Chris Trotter, & Selwyn Manning –

This week on Citizen A host Martyn Bradbury, Chris Trotter, and  Selwyn Manning debate the following issues:

  • Issue 1 Has the Consensus Building Group been a giant waste of time? What now for meaningful traffic management in Auckland?
  • Issue 2 The latest welfare reforms are being rolled out, when does beneficiary bashing stop being politically attractive?
  • Issue 3 Why is the defamation case against the NZDF by a journalist so important? (please note, since this episode broadcast, the jury overseeing this case returned without be able to reach a majority decision. Read here for more…)

Citizen A broadcasts weekly on FaceTV and webcasts on The Daily Blog,   and  LiveNews.co.nz

Citizen A broadcasts weekly on FaceTV and webcasts on The Daily Blog, Live.TheDailyBlog.co.nz & LiveNews.co.nz. – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/07/19/citizen-a-with-chris-trotter-selwyn-manning/#sthash.wbOjqgy3.dpuf

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

The Daily Blog

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Why a Four Year Parliamentary Term is not a Good Idea

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it's time to meet the muppets of the government

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Three years or four?

John Key has made suggestions to  reform certain  aspects of the Parliamentatry electoral cycle,

  • A fixed date for elections, such as our American cuzzies have
  • And extending the Parliamentary term from three to four years

The first suggestion – having a fixed date for elections – is sound. Anything that takes a wee bit of power away from politicians should be welcomed.

On that basis – anything that takes a wee bit of power away from politicians should be welcomed – extending the Parliamentary term from three to four years is one that fills me with disquiet.

I’ve heard the arguments for extending the Parliamentary term,

  1. It’s more efficient
  2. It gives government more time to achieve things
  3. Governments spend the third year of their current term in election mode to win the next election

None of those three arguments convinces me.

1. It’s more efficient

So is the One Party State; an autocratic ruler; or a  Parliamentary term of ten or twenty years . But would we be any better of, in terms of  public participation democracy? (Think: Putin in Russia.)

2. It gives government more time to achieve things…

That statement is never completed. It gives government more time to achieve – what? What incredibly complex, radical reforms are there that require an extra year (or more) for a government to have more time? What does Key have in mind that demands a four year term?

Remember that Select Committees work in unison, not one at a time, and Legislation can be passed in as little as 48 hours – as “The Hobbit Law” showed us (see: Helen Kelly – The Hobbit Dispute) – not that I’m advocating legislative changes conducted at warp speed.

Perhaps governments might have “more time to achieve things” if time wasn’t wasted with petty point-scoring in the Debating Chamber?

3. Governments spend the third year of their current term in election mode to win the next election

Perhaps a government might not have to spend the entire third year in “campaign mode” if, in the preceding two years,  they worked with the people and not against them?

A phrase comes to mind…

By their works ye shall know them.

A good government shouldn’t have to spend the entire third year in “election mode”. A bad government will never have enough time to campaign for re-election.

It’s not the length of time that should matter to a government, but what they achieve with it. If the people approve, a good government will be returned with a decent majority. A good government should have nothing to fear from the electorate.

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beehive

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Looking at the last 30 years, would I be inclined to give politicians (of all hues) an extra year?

Not bloody likely.

And I’m not referring to the scandals; the cronyism; unpopular asset sale programme; rising unemployment; cynical beneficiary bashing; growing child poverty and widening  income/wealth gap.

I’m referring to attitude.

John Key wants us to trust him with an extra year in power.

But has he given us reason to trust him?

If anything, Key’s attitude of dismissive, casual arrogance does not reassure us that he (or his successors) would use additional political power without a corresponding rise in said arrogance.

To remind the reader of what John Key really thinks of us and his critics…

1. Critics

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key stephenson

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In May 2011, journalist journalist Jon Stephenson, wrote a scathing expose of New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan and questioned whether they were complicit in torture.

The article outlined two instances last year where SAS forces allegedly captured suspects and handed them to Afghanistan authorities, including the Afghan secret police, the National Directorate of Security, which has a reputation for torturing prisoners.

New Zealand has signed several international conventions outlawing the inhumane detention of prisoners, including torture.

Source: PM attacks journalist over SAS torture claims

When challenged, Stephenson offered,

“I’m happy to put my information before an inquiry. Any fair or impartial inquiry will show that they are the ones misleading the public. Not me.”

Source: IBID

It which point Key jumped in with this derisory response,

I’ve got no reason for NZDF to be lying, and I’ve found [Stephenson] myself personally not to be credible.”

Key then attempted to smear Stephenson’s character by accusing him of making a bogus phone call.

We should not forget John Key dismissal of  Nicky Hager’s book, on CIA involvement in NZ military activities in Afghanistan. Key said,

I don’t have time to read fiction.”

Key claimed  that the book contained “no smoking gun”, just supposition, which, “makes it business as normal for Nicky Hager”. (Despite the book having 1,300-plus footnotes to referencing documentation.)

National ministers also seem to have little hesitation in attacking their critics in quite nasty ways. Remember Natasha Fuller,  Jennifer Johnston,  Bradley Ambrose, and even Bomber Bradbury who fell foul of the system when he dared criticse Dear Leader?

If there are “trust issues” here – they seem well founded.

2.The Poor & Unwise “life” choices

Key’s disdain of those who do not meet his world-view was perhaps best summed up on 17 February, 2011, when he was reported as making these comments,

When Labour’s social development spokeswoman Annette King asked about Salvation Army reports of high demand for food parcels, Mr Key responded by saying it was true that the global recession meant more people were on benefits.

But it is also true that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills.  And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don’t have money left.

Source: Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key

Well, at least we know the real thoughts of the boy from a subsidised State house, raised by a solo-mum receiving state assistance, and who had the benefit of a free, taxpayer funded University education.

3. Public Opposition

On 4 May 2012,  over five thousand people took part in a peaceful,  anti-asset sales Hikoi to Parliament,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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Key’s response was instructive,

How many people did they have? John Key asked reporters. “Where was it? Nope wasn’t aware of it.”

Key says the National Party has a clear mandate to proceed with privatising some state assets.

“Well over a million New Zealanders voted for National in the full knowledge we were going to undertake the mixed ownership model,” he said.

“So look, a few thousand people walking down the streets of Wellington isn’t going to change my mind.”

Source: Key unfazed as protesters descend on Parliament

Nearly a year later, on 12 March, a 392,000-plus signature petition was presented to Parliament. The petition  was  signed by ordinary New Zealanders who wanted nothing more or less than a say in their future.

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12-march-2013-presentation-of-anti-asset-sales-petition-parliament-referendum

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Key’s response?

Key said of the opposition petition you could be as sure as little green apples [that] huge numbers of them are not bona fide names on the list” and would have to be struck off.

“They’ve probably taken over a year to get maybe 300,000 names, we’ve had 285,000 pre-registrations in a matter of days”.

Source: Government to ignore asset sales referendum

And according to Green Party co-leader, Russell Norman, Key further disparaged New Zealanders who signed  the petition by saying,

…that the Prime Minister has said the people who signed this are children and tourists….

Source: IBID

Charming.

Key forgot to add, “let them eat cake”.

Unbridled Power?

Never forget that we are governed by an “elected dictatorship”,

  • There is no Upper House to scrutinise legislation from governments.
  • There is no written constitution to safeguard our interests.
  • Referenda have all the ‘bite’ of a toothless octagenarian (not that I support binding referenda – especially without Constitutional safeguards to protect the rights of minorities).
  • There are no mid-term elections; right-of-recall; Presidential Veto; or any other controls over elected representatives.

Once elected, unless a Member of Parliament is found guilty of a criminal act, we have zero control over them.

The upshot?

Just because this  government  is still (apparently) popular with the aspirationists and middle classes, is not a reason  to trust Key – or any other politician for that matter.

There have been too many broken promises; secret agendas; and bitterness from raised expectations that were soon dashed.

It is a truism that trust has to be earned.

And thus far, the glimpse that we’ve had into our current Prime Minister’s persona, is not one that fills me with confidence or trust.

New Zealanders may wish to reflect carefully before giving politicians any more power. It may be ok when it’s “your man (or woman) in power”. You may feel different if it’s the Other Guy running the country.

The issue simply boils down to one simple question;

How far do you trust the buggers?

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 15 March 2013.

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References

Wikipedia: Election Day (United States)

NZ Herald: Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key (17 Feb 2011)

NZ Herald: PM attacks journalist over SAS torture claims (3 May 2011)

NZ Herald: Charities’ food handouts at record after Govt cuts (18 Oct 2011)

TVNZ: Key unfazed as protesters descend on Parliament (4 May 2012)

Fairfax media: PM John Key Wants Four-Year Term For Parliament (7 Feb 2013)

Fairfax media: Government to ignore asset sales referendum (12 March 2013)

 

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What’s up with the Nats? (Part tahi)

19 August 2012 3 comments

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If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood

Who ya gonna call?

Natbusters!

If it’s somethin’ weird an it won’t look good

Who ya gonna call?

Natbusters!

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Intro

Ever since the National Party conference at the end of July, the National Party has been strutting the political stage like a bunch of patched gang-members, strutting about the main street of some small town in the back-blocks.

Key, Bennett, Joyce, Collins, Parata, Banks – even lowly backbenchers like Maggie Barry – have been obnoxiously aggressive in policy announcements and dealing with the media and critics.

The Nats have been unrelentingly in our faces ever since John Key uttered the threat,

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Full story

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This is not just about confidence.

This is something new. This is about a new, hyped-up, aggressive style of taking criticisms and failings, and turning it back on the critic.

Steven Joyce was on-style on TV3’s “The Nation” (19 August), when he belittled and badgered two journalists (John Hartevelt and Alex Tarrant)  who asked him pointedly about National’s short-comings. Joyce’s response was typical Muldoon-style pugnacity.

This interview with Joyce is charachteristic of how National Ministers have been belligerent in their responses.  It is singularly  instructive,

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Full story

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Interestingly, Joyce has a “go” at Labour; then the Greens; and even Hone Harawira throughout the course of the interview.  He even blames the global financial crisis and throws that in the face of Alex Tarrant, as he responds to a point.

Everyone gets a dose of blame – except the one party that is currently in power. So much for National’s creed that we should all take personal responsibility for our actions.

It appears that  National’s back-room Party strategists have been analysing the first few months of this year and have realised that when things go horribly wrong, or the latest string of economic indicators reveal more bad news, the relevant Minister(s) responds  with  aggression and with defiance.

If the old say “explaining-is-losing” is a truism, then any explanation offered automatically puts a Minister on the back-foot.

The best way out of such a sticky moment; take a page out of Rob Muldoon’s book, ‘How To Win Friends/Enemies and Influence the Media‘.

And National’s Ministers have been playing this ‘new’ game perfectly…

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John Key

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Key has always played the part of the arrogant, born-to-rule Tory well.

Despite trying to put across the meme that he has never forgotten his “working class/beneficiary” roots (See:  Reflections from New Zealand: Address to the Menzies Research Centre John Howard Lecture), his obvious disdain for those who are the  most deprived and powerless in our community occassionally slips out, as when he derided the poor for being… well, poor,

But it is also true that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one’s bills.

And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don’t have money left.”

See: Food parcel families made poor choices, says Key

That attitude came to the fore recently when Key decided that attending his son’s baseball game in the United States was a more pressing engagement than attending the funerals of two Kiwi servicemen killed in Afghanistan,

See: Key to miss soldiers’ military service

Key gave an explanation that, well, frankly astounded most New Zealanders,

In the end it’s a very, very difficult decision. I’ve got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job and, in the final analysis, I’ve just decided it’s probably the right thing to do – to go and support him.”

See:  Commitment to son will keep PM from funerals

“Sacrifice”?!

It’s hard to see how Key’s son has made a “sacrifice” that is more “huge” than two soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country.

For good measure, Key then had a ‘go’ at our Hungarian allies – also serving in Afghanistan – and who have lost seven of their own troops in the neighbouring Baghlan province,

As far as I’m aware, the Hungarians don’t go out at night. Not in Afghanistan anyway – they might in Budapest.”

See: Hungarians condemn Key’s jibe about troops in Afghanistan

A nice bit of deflection there, from Dear Leader. What better way to evade his responsibilities in an apalling decision not to attend the two funerals, than to point the finger at somone else.

It’s not often that one of our Prime Ministers has successfully disrespected the fallen soldiers of not one – but two nations. Quite a feat – even by arrogant right wing stands.

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Postscript 1:

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SIDELINE SUPPORT: Bronagh and John Key on the first day of the Senior Little League World Series at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor, Maine.

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It seems that Dear Leader is not above a bit of “embroidery” when it comes to singing the praises of his son’s involvement in the game of baseball,

Prime Minister John Key has told United States media his son’s baseball team’s appearance at an international little league  tournament is “big news back home”…

[abridged]

His support for his son caught the attention of the local Bangor Daily News. He told the paper his son’s team making the tournament was big news back home, and might spur growth in a sport that was already “growing reasonably rapidly”.

“I think over time there’s a chance baseball might be a much bigger sport relative to softball in New Zealand,” he said.

“But competing with big sports like rugby I think is a long way down the road.” About 4000 people are involved in the sport in New Zealand and Baseball New Zealand said it was the “fastest growing summer team sport” in the country. “

See: Little leaguers ‘big news’, says proud Key

Postscript 2:

The deaths of three more New Zealand soldiers was announced on the morning of  Monday, 20 August.

On Radio NZ, John Key stated that he would be attending their funerals. Apparently he has no other pressing engagements coming up.

Listen: Radio NZ Prime Minister John Key on Morning Report (@  8.10 )

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Continued at: What’s up with the Nats? (Part rua: Paula Bennett)

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John Key and his “priorities”

9 August 2012 68 comments

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Full story

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Of all the things that John Key has done badly; off all his slip-ups; stuff-ups; and gaffes… this one takes the cake.

What kind of leader of a country misses the funerals of two servicemen; slain on a battlefield; so that he can go watch his kid play a game of baseball?!

This simply beggars belief.

Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer (26) and Lance Corporal Rory Malone (26) were posted to Afghanistan as part of New Zealand’s policy to assist our allies. Both men were there at the behest of the government of this country.

Lance Corporal  Durrer  and Lance Corporal  Malone both made the ultimate sacrifice; their lives ended abruptly, and neither will enjoy the things that John Key has; family, career, nor any other achievements ahead of them.

The least that John Key could do is to make his own   sacrifice – one so much smaller than what these two men have made – and do the decent thing:  pay his respects at their funerals.

It is beyond understanding that a man of John Key’s supposed intelligence cannot understand where his true priorities should lie.

In December 2010, John Key couldn’t get down to the West Coast fast enough to attend the memorial service,  for the 29 men lost at Pike River Mine.

See: New Zealanders stop to join memorial for Pike River miners

I somehow doubt he would’ve declined to attend, because he wanted to watch his kid play a game of baseball!?!?

Message to John Key: You are the Prime Minister.  You represent the government of this country. The men and women who serve overseas  do so at the behest of the government.

I cannot believe that I have to remind you, Mr Prime Minister, where your primary duty lies.

Your decision to attend a baseball game is inexcusable and if you have to be reminded of what your priority should be, then you are not fit to lead this country.

You must carry out your responsibilities and attend those funerals.

Shirking your duty  is not an option.

Regardless of what we think of our involvement in Afghanistan, I believe John Key still has certain responsibilities. Going to a baseball game is not one of them.

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Other blogposts

Tumeke:  Worst NZ Herald editorial ever?

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John Key: nyald ki a seggem!!

7 August 2012 2 comments

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What is it about National that senior ministers feel the need to insult other countries?!

In March this year, Gerry Brownlee made abusive comments about Finland – a country with  higher educational achievements than New Zealand; a GDP some US$70 billion greater  than ours; and all achieved with a population only one million more than us.

See: Key steps in after Brownlee crosses Finnish line

Today, our gormless Prime Minister, the man who grins like a witless fool, as he and his Party fail in nearly every respect to grow the economy, has taken a swipe at Hungary,

Hungarians don’t go out at night – they might in Budapest, but not in Afghanistan.”

Dear Leader was referring to his assertion that Hungarian forces do not patrol the Baghlan province, especially  after nightfall.

See: Afghanistan attack: No pressure on Hungary

So saith John Key, the man who has never served in the armed forces.

So saith John Key, who has never served in any Peacekeeping operations abroad, that Kiwi forces have been involved in.

Whilst Key was sitting comfortably at University flirting with pretty female students; thereafter crunched numbers McCulloch Menzies and later  Lane Walker Rudkin;  then became a forex dealer at Elders Finance; and after that shuffled bit of paper  for other  finance conglomerates – other young men and women his age were serving their country in the armed forces.

See: Wikipedia John Key

Key made money, lots of it.

Indeed, when asked by at least one journalist what his views on the 1981 Springbok Tour was, he could not remember.

As he replied to  a reporter’s question,

Oh, I can’t even remember … 1981, I was 20 … ah … I don’t really know. I didn’t really have a strong feeling on it at the time. Look, it’s such a long time ago.”

How the hell does one not recall one of the most defining moments in our recent history? Especially since he was 20 at the time?

In fact, aside from golf and making money (lots of money!), Key appears to have had no involvement whatsoever in any public service for his own country.

See: In search of John Key

So it appears that when John Key went out at night, it  was never in a warzone either.

But Key is right about one thing: it is safe to go out on the streets of Budapest at night. Indeed, a city of 2 million people is safer than downtown Wellington or Auckland, in the early hours of the morning, when Courtney Place and Queen Street are dangerous bashing-grounds for young, drunken, out-of-control men and women.

By contrast, I refer the reader to this description of nightlife in Budapest,

Hungarians, like most Eastern Europeans, like their liquor and hold it well. If you think Saturday afternoon is best spent hanging out with your friends, drinking coffee and trying to piece together what happened Friday night, you’re in the right country. Alcohol is central to many Hungarians’ lives. The only city where people go clubbing is Budapest; elsewhere, the pub is the only option.

Hungarian pubs are pretty grimy by western standards—yellow smoke-stained walls, dirty tablecloths, toilets that don’t always work. The people there are usually very drunk, but Hungarians tend to get either happy or morose when they’re intoxicated and bar fights are rare. Most Continentals take it for granted that they don’t risk a broken nose just for going to a bar, but this can be a refreshing change for English and American imbibers. The Hungarian pub is still a largely male preserve—although seeing women as part of a mixed group is common enough, you just won’t see many women sitting at the bar alone.

Drinks are present at pretty much every social occasion lasting longer than 10 minutes. Hungarians you befriend will give you a drink at any excuse, and if you go to a pub, expect one round after another after another after another… drink slowly if you want to remember anything after midnight. It can be hard to refuse and still seem sociable. Just about every Hungarian drinks, and most can’t understand why somebody wouldn’t. If you’re a man who doesn’t drink, brush up on your soccer trivia and fill your wallet with photos of previous girlfriends before you come here, in case your heterosexuality is ever questioned.

The national liquor is palinka, a brandy that’s somewhere between 60% and 70% alcohol and usually served in a shot glass that’s usually about two ounces. Good palinkas are a real treat to drink, and come in different fruit flavors. The cheap, unflavored ones are barely digestible, and if you have more than three you probably won’t be digesting them anyway. It is not uncommon to walk into a bar or restaurant in the morning and see men from all walks of life taking a drink of the stuff to steel themselves for a day of work.

The second liquor most identified with Hungary is Unicum, which tastes and looks like Jaegermeister. If you’ve never had Jaeger, think cough syrup. If you like it, you’ll like Unicum. Hungarians like to have a shot of Unicum before and/or after a meal. Wine is also quite popular, Hungary produces some nice reds. It’s usually served in a soft drink glass at pubs. Red wine from Villány is generally considered the best, although Tokaji wine is just as well-known and not bad either.

The less said about the local beer, the better. It’s better than Milwaukee’s Best, maybe even better than Miller and Budweiser. But what European beer isn’t? Czech beers are commonly available, and are your best bet. Pilsner Urquell (first pilsner ever) and Budwar (Budweiser’s more flavorful ancestor) are the most common.

As for domestics, Dreher is head and shoulders above the rest. Hungarians don’t usually toast when they’re drinking beer. Supposedly this is because in 1848, when 13 generals fighting for Hungarian independence were executed by the Austrians, the Austrian soldiers clinked their beer glasses together as each one was dropped off the gallows.

You can buy beer, wine and liquor at any place where you can buy food—grocery stores, corner stores, gas stations, wherever. Supposedly there’s a drinking age, but as long as you can see over the counter or bar you won’t be carded. Pubs usually close around midnight, although you can usually find a handful that are open a couple hours later. These are more common in Budapest, of course.

There’s an open container law, but unless you’re starting fights or run into a cop whose wife just left him, you can walk down the street gulping palinka right out of the bottle without any problems. Either you or the cop really have to be an asshole to get hassled for drinking in public; just being drunk and a bit loud won’t get you noticed.

Hungary has a huge problem with alcoholism. Most pubs are bustling by 8:30 in the morning. If you don’t want to drink, tell people you’re a recovering alcoholic. They’ll understand.

See: Drink and Drugs in Hungary

This blogger has experience in Hungarian culture, and the writer of the piece above is fairly correct. As they write,

You can buy beer, wine and liquor at any place where you can buy food—grocery stores, corner stores, gas stations, wherever.

In fact, the first time I ever went to Hungary, I was stunned at how widespread the availability of alcohol was.

Yet, I never once saw any display of public drunkeness, nor alcohol-fuelled fights, nor the kind of wanton vandalism, public urination, vomitting, that is now commonplace in our cities after dark.

Nor does Key seem to have any inclination to deal with this country’s out-of-control alcohol abuse that renders Courtney Place and Queen Streets no-go areas after midnight.

At first, Key stated that there was public  “no appetite” to raise taxes on alcohol to curb excessive consumption in this country.

See: Failure of nerve on liquor law

Key  ruled out raising the price on alcohol to address alcohol abuse, saying it was  ineffectual.

Yet that is precisely the mechanism by which successive governments  reduced demand for cigarettes: raising taxes.

Key misled the public in December, last year,  when he claimed  there was  “no appetite” from the public to raise prices on alcohol. A survey conducted by the Health Sponsorship Council revealed that,

“…  56% of people are behind an increase in the price of cheap alcohol, including 26% strongly backing the idea. It also found solid backing for a reduction in the hours alcohol may be sold, with 28% strongly behind the idea and a further 37 % supporting it.”

See: Dunne in gun over survey backing booze crackdown

What is the point of this blogpost, you may ask?

It’s fairly evident. John Key is the man who has never served in the military – nor in any other community organisation. And yet he has the temerity to complain about what other military servicemen may or may not be doing? When he puts his own neck on the line, or contributes something constructive to society – then we might start to take him seriously.

Until then, he is a suit with a big bank account; a desire to be admired by the public; but  precious little more.

As for referring about the safety of other cities at night – that is indeed a valid issue.  On that matter, John Key has a lot to learn from Hungarians – especially how to hold their liquor, and not end up in drunken brawls, where footpaths are covered in blood and vomit, and shopkeepers have to hose urine,    excrement, and more vomit,  from their doorways.

You won’t see these headlines in any newspaper in Hungary,

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Child alcohol abuse up nearly 20pc

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Tough line on alcohol abuse most welcome

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Teens ‘so drunk they could die’

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Ambulance base for Wellington party central

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Drunk kids flooding our hospitals

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RTDs linked to crime, crashes

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Abusive drunks make doctor feel like giving up

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Hawke’s Bay races ‘drunken mayhem’

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Booze retailers ‘put profits ahead of community

wellbeing’

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Wellington’s DHB calls for community hard line on

alcohol

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Man goes on drunken rampage in hospital carpark

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Alcohol abuse seen as a big NZ problem

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So if John Key has a problem with Hungarians; their servicemen and women; the capital city of Budapest, and how safe it may be at night – he should keep it to himself.

Not until he and his Party start to address  serious problems surrounding our own growing crisis of alcohol abuse – instead of tinkering with the law –  should he open his big mouth.

And if he wants to tell  Hungarian soldiers how to fight the Taliban, I encourage him to get of his ministerial chair; go to Afghanistan; and show them how it’s done.

Armchair warriors like him deserve only contempt.

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Addition

Hungarians hurt by ‘snide’ Key dig at troops

Wikipedia: Finland

Wikipedia: New Zealand

OECD PISA Education rankings

Review of Regulatory Framework for the Sale and Supply of Liquor

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Racism, Rape, and Religion

4 December 2011 21 comments

Just when you thought the human race couldn’t possibly be any more insane than it already is, we find two stories. One is from the most technologically advanced, wealthiest nations on planet Earth. The other is from a semi-failed state that is like taking a Tardis trip 1,000 years into the past.

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Members at the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church voted Sunday on the resolution, which says the church “does not condone interracial marriage.”

The church member who crafted the resolution, Melvin Thompson, said he is not racist and called the matter an “internal affair.”

“I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil about a race,” said Thompson, the church’s former pastor who stepped down earlier this year. “That’s what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.”

Full Story

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Melvin Thompson is adamant that  he is not a racist or prejudiced.

Of course not. Basing your beliefs on the colour of one’s skin isn’t racism. We all know that. Racism happens somewhere else.

Personally, I’m happy to dispense with the term “racism” and just use alternative terms. Like, ignorance.

There you go, Mr Thompson; you’re not racist, you’re just plain ignorant. Happy?

And from the other side of the planet, far removed from rural Kentucky, the human capacity for infinity craziness and cruelty carries on,

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Karzai’s office said in a statement that the woman and her attacker have agreed to marry. That would reverse an earlier decision by the 19-year-old woman, who had previously refused a judge’s offer of freedom if she agreed to marry the rapist.

Her plight was highlighted in a documentary that the European Union blocked because it feared the women featured in the film would be in danger if it were shown.

More than 5,000 people recently signed a petition urging Karzai to release the woman. She had the man’s child while in prison and raised her daughter behind bars, which is common among women imprisoned in Afghanistan.

A statement released by Karzai’s office says that after hearing from judicial officials, the decision was made to forgive the rest of the sentence she received for having sex out of wedlock, a crime in Afghanistan. The presidential statement did not say when the woman was to be released or how much prison time had been pardoned.

The woman told The Associated Press in an interview last month that she had hoped that attention generated by the EU film might help her get released. With the film blocked, she said that she was losing hope and considering marrying her rapist as a way out. She said her attacker was pressuring her to stop giving interviews.

About half of the 300 to 400 women jailed in Afghanistan are imprisoned for so-called “moral crimes” such as sex outside marriage, or running away from their husbands, according to reports by the United Nations and research organizations. Fleeing husbands isn’t considered a crime in Afghanistan.

Full Story

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Ever wondered what a society ruled by  misogynistic village idiots would look like? Welcome to Afghanistan, circa 2011AD. Or 1011AD. Or 11AD. (Makes no difference, really.)

The only difference  between these two stories is that our American cuzzies have no excuse. They have unfettered access to education and 21st century communications. And when even Presidential candidates indulge in a bit of outrageous racism, is there really that much difference between the two cultures?

It’s amazing the depths of ignorance human beings can plumb, especially when they claim to have a god on their side…

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Military ‘spin-doctoring’ – the media catch-up

11 September 2011 4 comments

On 2 August, the issue of the NZDF spending large sums of tax-payers money was raised by Andrea Vance in the “Dominion Post”. I wrote on this issue the following day; “It’s a Man’s World, I guess“.

It seems somewhat odd then, that Neil Reid, has written on this very same issue, in the Sunday Star Times, stating, “Documents obtained by the Sunday Star-Times show the department – covering Army, Air Force and Navy – spent more than $2.7 million in the past financial year on public relations and communications.

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Full Story

This story has at least three componants to it;

1. PR spend.

Last time I looked, the job of the military was to carry out such actions as determined by the Government-of-the-Day. The military is tasked with certain missions, to achieve certain objectives, as laid down by the Minister of Defence, and the Government. In effect, the politicians tell the soldier boys (and girls) to go to “Spot X” and do what soldiers do best; point guns at other people.

As such, it boggles the mind as to what on Earth the NZDF would need to spend $20 million tax-dollars of Public Relations on?!?!

Spending $20 million on tanks, guns, ammunition, radios, tents, medical equipment, planes, trucks – I think we get that. Military gear doesn’t come cheap – not since we moved away  from clubs and pointy-sticks.

But spending that kind of money on PR? That just makes no sense whatsoever.

Unless…

Unless the NZDF were doing something overseas that the Government(s)-of-the-Day were not being totally candid with us, the New Zealand public?

PR is basically ‘spin’ – putting the best possible image of an unpleasant situation. Another word that might be appropriate is propaganda. Authoritarian regimes (such as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, et al) are exceedingly good at propaganda. But Western Democracies have also developed ways and means to use PR/spin/Propaganda to make the public believe something that may not be strictly-speaking, true. (Telling lies, in other words.)

Which leads us to the Big Question: what requires a big enough lie to be told that warrants $16 million dollars of tax-payers’ money to be spent on Public Relations from Saatchi & Saatchi, plus another $4.2 million in media advertising?

Personnel recruitment?

That is difficult to believe when, currently, this government is laying off around 400 military personnel and removing  another 600 out of uniform, to re-employ them more cheaply as civilians.

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Full Story

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There seems to be an obvious and serious “disconnect” from what the NZDF is telling the public, and where the money is being spent, and what for.

$20 million of tax-payers money is not “small change”. Where is it going, and why?

And why aren’t the media delving more deeply into this issue, instead of two, very brief, superficial newspaper stories?

Perhaps the following provides us with a possible answer…

2. “Media product vetting”

The Sunday Star Times article, by Neil Reid, states that,

“…Locke also provided the Star-Times with a contract TVNZ signed before sending a journalist to join the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan, which states the role of defence officials included “media product vetting”.

It follows claims by Hager that the Defence Force had been selective in what it had allowed to be reported in New Zealand on the role of the joint-services team in Afghanistan…”

Commander Phil Bradshaw’s response that the NZDF is vetting images of  “LAVs [light armoured vehicles] [and]  the Humvees” beggars belief.

Is Cmdr Bradshaw seriously telling us that “media product vetting” (ie; censorship) relates to pictures of light armoured vehicles and humvees?!?! In which case, someone needs to advise Cmdr Bradshaw that there as been a serious security breach: a “Google” search using the parameters “NZ Defence Force lav” yielded 79,400 results for images alone.

Let’s hope Al Qaida has no access to “Google”, or we’re stuffed.

No, folks, there is more to the NZDF’s “media product vetting” (censorship) than  pics of a few dusty Army vehicles.

Nicky Hager has pointed the way on this issue, and the media – to it’s eternal shame – has not followed up on this story.

3. Media Complicity?

Not only is there a question mark hanging over how $20 million was spent – but it seems that the mainstream media (MSM) have been decidely blase about asking any serious questions. To date, we’ve seen two newspaper articles by Neil Reid and Andrea Vance – but precious little else in the MSM.

As well as Nicky Hager’s investigative book,  “Other People’s Wars“, Jon Stephenson wrote an article for “Metro” magazine on Afghan prisoners’ treatment after being captured by New Zealand’s SAS. This excellent piece of investigative journalism  resulted in…

“…Prime Minister John Key’s extraordinary ad hominem attack on independent  journalist Jon Stephenson, of ‘Metro’ magazine.

Recently, Stephenson wrote an article in Metro alleging that New Zealand was not meeting its Geneva Convention obligations in its handling of prisoners captured in the course of SAS operations in Afghanistan. You might think that as the only NZ journalist who has regularly been reporting from Afghanistan, Stephenson speaks with some authority.” Source

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“Stephenson speaks with some authority”, writes Gordon Campbell.

But not according to the Prime Minister, who dismissed Stephenson’s article with  almost sneering derision.

In contrast, two senior journalists, Vernon Small and Guyon Espiner, both stated that they were aware of a CIA “presence” at the Kiwi base in Bamiyan.

“In fact, I, and other reporters before me, were introduced to US intelligence and communications staff at Bamiyan and at other Kiwi forward bases and ate and chatted with them. The stars and stripes flies alongside the New Zealand flag at Bamiyan to advertise the US contingent…”  – Vernon Small,  Source

Neither felt it necessary to report this fact to the New Zealand public? In fact, both Small and Espiner remained silent until Nicky Hager’s book blew the whistle on the real situation.

For journalists to withhold information that reveals a truth about our government and/or military,  shows how far the media has sunk in the last twentyfive years. It raises questions not just about competancy and professionalism, but how far the MSM has become a “cog” in the Establishment.

Perhaps the most obscene thing about this matter is that our beloved Prime Minister, the ever-smiling; happily waving  John Key; saw fit to dismiss both Nickey Hager and Jon Stephenson’s investigations into the war in Afghanistan  with  single, derisory, comments,

“Nothing surprises me when it comes to Nicky Hager. So whether they’re true or not is a completely different issue, but he makes a lot of spurious claims and never generally backs it up.” Source

“I’ve got no reason for NZDF to be lying, and I’ve found [Stephenson] myself personally not to be credible.” Source

Two pieces of investigative journalism; well-researched; impeccably documented; and both able to withstand critical scrutiny – dismissed by the Prime Minister without any serious  explanation whatsoever.

Compare the response of the MSM and public to that of a certain stranded penguin and to the proposed “Wellywood” sign in the capital city, and one begins to suspect that, collectively, our priorities are definitely arse-about-face. Perhaps if the SAS had handed “Happy Feet” over to the American CIA, for “extraordinary rendition” to some misbegotten Third World state, for “interrogation”, we might have had an uproar from the good folk of New Zealand?

Well, thankfully “Happy Feet” is safe and sound somewhere in the Southern Ocean.

It’s a shame that  the same cannot be said of  our media in this country.

Read also:

Public Address: Other People’s Wars

Little kept from media eyes at base

NZ Politics Daily – 2 September

PM attacks journalist over SAS torture claims

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America’s Decade of Disaster – Michael Hirsh

3 September 2011 Leave a comment

This article, published in the American “National Journal”, is a must-read as to where the US has gone wrong – and by implication – has sucked New Zealand into their mistakes.

Pay close attention to the writers’ commenys on tax cuts and spending, as it applies to us, as well. This is possibly one of the most important and insightful commentaries yet to be written. It will grip you…

“The events of Sept. 11 have ultimately left us, 10 years later, with an economy and a strategic stature that no longer seem terribly awesome. America is still the sole superpower, but our invincible military is bogged down in two wasting wars, and poorly armed insurgents seem not to fear us. The rest of the world, beginning with China and Japan, now underwrites our vast indebtedness with barely concealed impatience. We are a nation downgraded by Wall Street, disrespected abroad, and defied even now by al-Qaida, whose leader was killed only recently after spending most of the decade taunting Washington. How did this happen?” – Read further

(Acknowledgement to whoar.co.nz for bringing this excellent article to my attention.)

The Cost of War

3 August 2011 2 comments


It’s not just the “markets” that are breathing a sigh of relief – the rest of the world was probably holding it’s collective breath as well. The US economy is simply “to big to fail” (to borrow a term from recent government bail-outs of troubled corporations) and de-faulting on its debt would have impacted on every economy on this planet.

Interesting that the US$1 trillion debt that equates to the cost of America’s involvement in two current wars in the Middle East

Cutting US$1 trillion from the US economy… I wonder how many poor buggers will end up losing their jobs, as the American government reigns in spending. When governments cut spending, that inevitably entails people losing their jobs.

US$1 trillion spent on two wars. And it’s American workers that will pay the price. Democracy, eh? Ya gotta love it.

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