Archive

Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

The Christchurch Attack: is the stage is set for a continuing domino of death?

29 March 2019 6 comments

.

.

“New Zealanders hearing so many of the details and seeing Weatherston taking the stand will have been absolutely dumbfounded that this remorseless killer has had a platform for his justifications and excuses televised and thoroughly reported by the media.”

That was from the trial of Clayton Weatherston in 2009, convicted killer of Sophie Elliott. His behaviour in court, televised for all to see, was appalling.

Chief executive of Women’s Refuge (at the time),  Heather Henare, described Weatherston’s self-serving exploitation of his courtroom platform with disgust;

“New Zealanders hearing so many of the details and seeing Weatherston taking the stand will have been absolutely dumbfounded that this remorseless killer has had a platform for his justifications and excuses televised and thoroughly reported by the media.

Everyone must have a fair trial, of course, but I think we need to be asking whether a trial like this actually represents any kind of justice whatsoever.”

Even as the nation looked on at Weatherston’s performance, the fact is that there was only one real person that Weatherston was playing to: himself. He would have had very little, if any, support from his audience.

Two years later, another killer took the ‘stage’ in a Norwegian courtroom. Mass-murderer, terrorist, and far-right fanatic, Anders  Breivik was charged and later convicted of murdering seventyseven innocent people. Breivik made his court appearances with dramatic effect;

.

.
(Note: this blogger will not share images showing the killer’s face. If you’re sufficiently curious, look it up yourself.)

Breivik justified his killing spree with a chilling statement that bears relevance to the Christchurch terror attack on 15 March;

“They were not innocent, non-political children; these were young people who worked to actively uphold multicultural values…”

During his court case, Breivik expounded his far right views. It became his platform to promulgate his ideology and to create an image of “heroic action” amongst the far-right in every nation on Earth, from America to Britain to Greece to Ukraine and elewhere.

One survivor of his terror attack, Viljar Hanssen,  was clear in his condemnation of the Courtroom circus;

“For many of us, the relentless struggle for a good and dignified life continues… while the media incessantly give a podium to the Breivik circus.”

It had an eerie similarity to critics of Weatherstone’s behaviour during his trial.

The difference between Weatherstone and Breivik is that Breivik was playing to a supportive, approving audience throughout the world.

It should not be lost on people that the alleged Christchurch shooter committed his terrorist atrocity having been inspired by Breivik.

Breivik, in turn, disclosed he had been inspired by Oklahoma bomber and far-right terrorist, Timothy McVeigh.

Breivik and McVeigh have becomes heroes amongst the far right, with many openly declaring their admiration of the murderers. Some, llike Christopher Paul Hasson, were fortunately  caught by law enforcement authorities before they could carry out their own terrorist attacks.

Hasson had been inspired by Breivik.

In the far-right “community”, the term “Going Breivik” has obvious, deadly meaning.

There are multiple instances of far right individuals carrying out, or attempting to carry out, their own terror attacks. All have been inspired by other attackers.  It is an ongoing cycle of domino of death.

It is against this back-drop that we now have to consider the alleged Christchurch shooter’s own looming trial. The alleged killer has indicated he will represent himself;

The duty lawyer who represented Tarrant in court on Saturday confirmed to the Herald today that he was no longer acting for him.

Richard Peters said Tarrant appeared to be lucid and was not mentally unstable – other than the extreme views that he held.

Peters said that his job representing Tarrant ceased on Saturday – and that the accused gunman had told him he wanted to represent himself in future.

This raises the spectre of the alleged Christchurch shooter repeating past instances of terrorists turning his trial into a platform to spout his racist, xenophobic views; his motivations; and his ideas of a world-wide war against other ethnic and religious groups.

Any notion that this will not happen is naive.

When the alleged shooter went on his killing spree, it was live-filmed and up-loaded onto social media. Since then Facebook confirmed removing 1.5 million copies of the terror attack. That was two days ago (as at writing this blogpost). The number has probably increased by the time you read this.

The purpose of filming and uploading a video of the attack should be clear to everyone.

For the alleged shooter to be given a Court platform by televising or  radio-broadcasting his comments would compound his desire to spread his toxic extremist views. As Massey University law professor, Chris Gallivan, pointed out;

“We’re going to hear a lot more about this gentleman and probably from this gentleman, and also about his ideology, before this is over.

We have to ensure the victims are protected through that and that it is not a platform to be able to extol his worldview. But if he self-represents – the courts probably will struggle to stop him using this as a platform.

Anders Breivik didn’t recognise the jurisdiction of the court and used every opportunity he possibly could to spout his vitriol and worldview.”

From there, it is a short step to that publicity being widely disseminated amongst the far right, and inspiring the next terrorist attack. Copy-cat attacks are already occurring in Britain;

Detectives are investigating an alleged far-Right terror attack in Surrey after a teenager was stabbed amid a spate of racist incidents across Britain which came in the wake of the New Zealand massacre.

Politicians and police have condemned the attacks and said extremism has no place in British society.

The 19-year-old victim was said to have been attacked by a man armed with a knife and a baseball bat who it is claimed was heard shouting racist comments.

Yet, conducting the trial in secret is also not a solution.

Secrecy breeds suspicion. It would give birth to a host of mind-numbingly tedious conspiracy theories. Salient information about his actions would be lost. It would create dangerous legal precedent.

There has to be a middle-ground. A compromise where the alleged shooter is denied a platform – but where secrecy does not create unintended consequences.

Televising and radio-broadcasting the alleged shooter’s comments is simply not tenable. That would give him the stage to encourage others by his own words.

Just as The Daily Blog denies links to ‘Infowars‘ because the administrator(s) consider Alex Jones a crazed hate-monger who cannot be reasoned with.

Worse still, it re-victimises the survivors and families of the terror attack. The ghoulish spectacle of the alleged shooter on our TV screens or his voice on our radios, would be an unbearable trauma for many people. There is no fairness in such a prospect.

The best compromise is to allow media to attend the trial – without electronically recording and disseminating anything the alleged shooter says. His comments can be paraphrased, if they are salient. Simply repeating his toxic beliefs is unnecessary. Anyone interested in his ideology has a multitude of far right websites to visit: they are not shy in seeking publicity (and recruits).

RNZ chief executive, Paul Thompson,  has  taken a lead by approaching other news media to show restraint how the alleged shooter’s comments should be reported in the media;

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson said the organisation would have “really strong editorial controls” in its court coverage, focusing on the key legal aspects of the case.

“Just because someone’s representing himself, perhaps, and makes a three-hour opening statement, you don’t have to cover every word of it,” he said.

Mr Thompson said he had begun contacting others in the news business to see if they wanted to develop a joint approach.

“It’s no good if some of us exercise that restraint and other outlets don’t,” he said.

This shows responsible restraint.

Furthermore, Court gallery seating should be given priority to the families, friends, and community leaders of his victims. They, above all of us, have a right to see the face of the alleged killer who took so many precious lives.

Recording devices (smart phones, dictaphones, etc) should not be allowed into the Court.

Some may balk at these suggestions. I make no apology for making them.

‘Phase 1’ of the alleged shooter’s plan was to live-stream his terror attack. If the alleged shooter is allowed to use the Court as a platform for his toxic views, we are, in effect, allowing him ‘Phase 2’ of his plan for maximum publicity.

We should deny him that oxygen. Just as we deny ISIS the oxygen of publicity by removing their on-line propaganda videos whenever they are found.

Otherwise, any direct publicity given to him could inspire the next far right terrorist to commit his own atrocity. We would be complicit in that.

New Zealanders never thought this would happen here. But it did.

New Zealanders may think giving the alleged shooter a platform won’t inspire the next killer. It will.

We should think carefully on what we do next.  There will be consequences.

There are always consequences.

 

Postscript

This episode of Radio NZ’s “mediawatch” appeared too late for the blogpost above, but it is pertinent to the issues raised:

Mediawatch – How Christchurch’s assault has made a mark on our media

Mediawatch – Lessons from Norway on covering the quest for justice

 

 

.

.

.

References

NZ Herald: Weatherston trial a ‘national disgrace’

The Guardian: Anders Behring Breivik claims victims were not innocent

France24: Breivik makes Nazi salute at court appearance

Sydney Morning Herald: Christchurch suspect claimed ‘brief contact’ with Norwegian mass murderer

The Buffalo News: For some alt-right extremists, bomber Timothy McVeigh is a hero

Public Radio International: Oklahoma City bombing inspired Breivik, Norway’s mass murderer

Washington Post: ‘They hate white males’ – A Norwegian mass murderer inspired the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror, feds say

New York Times: The Anatomy of White Terror

NZ Herald: Christchurch mosque shootings – Brenton Tarrant to represent himself in court

Mediaworks/Newshub: Christchurch terror attack: Lessons from the Anders Breivik trial

Fairfax/Stuff: Christchurch shootings: Facebook removed 1.5 million videos

The Telegraph: Surrey teenager stabbed in ‘far-Right terror attack’ amid spate of racist incidents after New Zealand massacre

Radio NZ: How media plan to cover the accused Christchurch shooter’s trial

Additional

ADLS: Judges zoom in on courtroom cameras

Other Bloggers

TDB:  On the trial, on the failure of our intelligence agencies & on the blame game

TDB:  Dr Liz Gordon – The narcissist twins and the future of humanity

TDB:  Selwyn Manning – Christchurch Terror Attacks – New Zealand’s Darkest Hour – Friday 15th 2019

Previous related blogposts

A funny thing happened at the Mall

15 March: Aotearoa’s Day Of Infamy

.

.

.

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 24 March 2019.

.

.

= fs =

15 March: Aotearoa’s Day Of Infamy

22 March 2019 1 comment

.

Image

.

On a day when our young people succeeded in prodding grownups to take notice of the looming climate change disaster bearing down on us, other “grownups” had more nefarious, murderous thoughts in mind. On a day which should have been positive and filled with idealism and hope, we ended with tragedy and tears.

This was not our first terrorist attack in modern times. Many of us will recall the Wellington Trades Hall bombing in March 1984 and most of us will recall the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour a year later.

A life was lost on each occassion.

On 15 March, 49 unarmed, innocent people – men, women, children – were shot dead by a coward. His political agenda – white nationalism. His means of “persuasion” – a high-powered rifle.

It was a gutless act of terror espousing a corrupt, poisonous ideology.

The handful of fanatics responsible do not represent Aotearoa New Zealand and our espoused values. Not even close. Their minds are as alien and repellent to us as something that crawled out of a primordial swamp.

It is still early days. New Zealanders are still in shock as disbelief is replaced with reality setting in. Then will come the other stages of grief, including anger. Our Prime Minister’s steady, measured voice of calm reassurance has been a godsend. Her resolute rejection of extremism was heartening, almost Churchillian;

“For those of you who are watching at home tonight and questioning how this could have happened here, we, New Zealand, we are not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate, we were not chosen for this violnece because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism, we were chosen for the fact we represent none of these things. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it.

And those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages and amongst that diversity we share common values and the one that we place the currency on right now and tonight is our compassion and the support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy

Secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology for those who did this … we utterly reject and condemn you.”

After the grief and anger, there will be debate and questioning. Perhaps I am premature, but these are some of the things we, as a nation, will have to confront and address…

1. A Message to the GCSB and NZSIS: where were you?

Why were security services targetting left-wing bloggers like Martyn Bradbury and investigative journalists like Nicky Hager – but white supremacists were “unknown” to them? What do they spend their days and budget on?

Commentator, Matthew Hooton was one if the first to put the question on social media:

@MatthewHootonNZ
I know this is early, but it seems to me the Director-General of Security should at least offer her resignation to the Prime Minister, even if it probably shouldn’t be accepted today. This is a disastrous & inexcusable failure by the intelligence services. 
9:09 PM · Mar 15, 2019
Former member of parliament, Tau Henare, put the same question;
@tauhenare
It was so easy for the Security Forces of NZ to lay camera’s in the Urewera to spy on Maori “terrorists” It was so easy for them to arrest Tame and to send him to prison for having a clapped out Lee Enfield rifel. I’m sorry, but this is NZ. “How did we miss this” the media ask?
8:22 AM · Mar 16, 2019
As events unfolded, Police Commissioner Mike Bush admitted what many were already starting to suspect:

“No agency has had any info about these people. I’ve been in touch with my Australian colleagues who had no information about them either.”

It cannot be for a lack of resources and legislative power.

Since 2002,  successive governments (mostly National) have enacted a string of amendments and new laws. Each law change ramped up surveillance powers of the State’s agencies:

Labour government

Terrorism Suppression Act 2002

National government

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013

Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill (aka Customs and Excise Amendment Act 2014)

National/Labour

Customs and Excise Act 2018 (legislation) (history)

The Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013 – one of the most contentious in recent history – increased the reach of the GCSB to allow monitoring of New Zealand citizens, and other individuals, at home and abroad.

Prime Minister at the time, John Key, justified increased State surveillance by invoking the threat of terrorism;

“In a world of global terrorism where Isis is trying to reach influence into a country like New Zealand, of course on a much lower scale than they do somewhere else, we can best defend ourselves by stopping that before it ever happens.”

During a review of the security agencies in 2016,  Michael Cullen put the case for widening the surveillance powers of the GCSB by invoking emergency scenarios;

“Let us suppose a New Zealander is in imminent danger, in terms of their life overseas. Maybe lost at sea or some other example. Under this legislation as the GCSB feels it has to interpret it, the GCSB’s capacity to trace an individual’s cellphone and to say exactly where it is, cannot be used.

We have no way of finding out where that person is, using that capacity, in order to take immediate and urgent action, in whatever way, to try to protect the safety of that New Zealander.”

The National government got the “green light” and the GCSB Act was duly amended.

And it did not help us one iota.

As for financial resources, both the GCSB and NZSIS enjoyed a considerable increase in funding over a decade:

GCSB:

2008/09: $48,888,000 (up $8,543,000 from 2007/08)

2018/19: $158,029,000

NZSIS:

2008/09: $36,889,000 (up $3,138,000 from 2007/08)

2018/19: $82,843,000

So any suggestion that  State agencies did not have the legislative power or government funding to enable monitoring of extremist groups in this country is not credible and flies in the face of facts.

The threat existed. Just not from ISIS. The State was looking in the wrong direction.

Indeed, surveillance was widespread in Aotearoa New Zealand by State agencies, even going so far as to employ private investigators to spy on Christchurch  property-owners, affected by the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

The spying by Thompson and Clark was illegal, but it indicated a strong willingness by various State agencies to carry out snooping when it suited them. Thompson and Clark spied on political activists, iwi groups, and environmental protestors such as Greenpeace.

The invasive and illegal breach of Nicky Hager and Martyn Bradbury’s privacy by Police is also a matter of public record.

But when it came to keeping a watchful eye on our own, local hate groups, the Police, SIS, and GCSB failed.

They had one job to do and they failed us. They failed 49 innocent people.

Where were you?

2. A Message to Simon Bridges

As the awful horror of the terrorist attack slowly dawned on us, social media was flooded with many messages of support, well-wishes, empathy, as well as disbelief, anger, and horror, our elected representatives added their voices.

One, from current leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges, ‘tweeted’;

Simon Bridges
@simonjbridges

I’m shocked to hear about the incident unfolding in Christchurch. My heart goes out to the families and I stand with the Canterbury community.
2:49 PM – 15 Mar 2019

My response – perhaps overly emotional as the Christchurch terror-attack impacted on me – was not impressed;

fmacskasy
@fmacskasy

Replying to

Simon Bridges
@simonjbridges

Mr Bridges, I have one request of you. DON’T YOU DARE USE THIS TRAGEDY AS SOME PERVERTED LAW & ORDER ELECTION ISSUE NEXT YEAR. Don’t even think about exploiting this for votes. Just. Don’t.
6:29 PM · Mar 15, 2019

Is it a forlorn hope that National’s party strategists, desperate to regain the government benches, would not exploit this tragedy and the deaths of fortynine people? National has exploited the “law and order” issue in the past;

.

.

If, as I suspect, National goes down this road, I hope the vast majority of good New Zealanders responds accordingly.

Does Mr Bridges really want to end his career as the self-serving politician who was willing to exploit the worst terrorist attack in our modern history? I hope that wiser heads in the National Party counsel him against such a grotesque idea.

Don’t do it, Mr Bridges.

3. A Message to my fellow Progressive Comrades
Last year, two alt-right (I call them polite-fascists) Canadian activists visited Aotearoa New Zealand. Their visit generated much soul-searching and debate – especially within progressive circles. There were many bloggers and  left-wing commentators who – whilst opposing Southern and Molyneux’s racist, transphobic, Islamophobic, and sexist beliefs – supported their right to free speech.

I held a different view.

On 29 August last year, I explained why I believed that countenancing the spread of hate-ideology by visiting “activists” was a luxury we could ill-afford;

For many others, free speech was not absolute. Spreading racist, homophobic, sexist, and transphobic vitriol belittled already-marginalised and disempowered people in our society.

For others, their Care Factor was zero. Faced with an empty refrigerator, or sleeping in a garage or car, or choosing whether to pay the power bill or medication for a child with rheumatic fever, was a closer reality for many New Zealanders.

If you were white, male, and straight – you would be right to feel safe from the bigotted chauvinism of two alt-right Polite Fascists .  A White, Male, Straight could countenance violence as a price for “free speech”.

If you were a person of colour, gay, a woman with a career and a baby, or transgender – not so much.  You might feel less inclined to welcome people into our country whose main purpose was to denigrate you; deny you your equality; your inclusivity in society; your very identity.

[…]

For the more rational angels on the side of the Free Speech debate, it was a necessary price to pay for a free society.

Unfortunately, it could be said that ‘price’ was paid mostly by those minorities and women targetted by our Polite Fascist visitors.

Perhaps my background as the son of immigrant parents gave me an insight that other New Zealanders, whose parents were also born here (or immigrated from another Anglo-Saxon country) could not easily appreciate.

I repeated my subtle warning that “free speech” was not free and “unfortunately, it could be said that ‘price’ was paid mostly by those minorities and women targetted by our Polite Fascist visitors“.

As in the United States, many Americans support their Second Amendment “right to bear arms”. At least 5% support gun rights with “no or very few” restrictions”. For those Americans, mass-shootings is the “price” to pay for their Second Amendment rights. Unfortunately, that “price” is paid by others.

Just as the sale of one gun, from one gun shop, somewhere in New Zealand, probably didn’t contribute directly to the mass-shooting in Christchurch. Or the sale of one gun in the US didn’t contribute directly to mass shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Columbine, etc.

Am I suggesting that Southern and Molyneux were directly responsible for the terror attack in Christchurch. No, not directly.

After all, their voices were only two, of many.

But really, what did people think  was the purpose of Southern and Molyneux  to visit Aotearoa New Zealand? To engage in rational debate with progressives over a cup of Earl Grey and gingernut? To do the Tourist Thing and take ‘selfies’ on the Fox Glacier?

What did we think their purpose was to visit Aotearoa New Zealand?

Let me answer that. They were not here to debate. They are past debate.

They were here to (a) encourage new recruits amongst the disaffected and (b) re-energise existing far-right and alt-right groups.

It took barely six months after I wrote my rebuttal to permitting the Polite Fascists to visit. They came, nevertheless. They made their public speeches. (There was no debate.) And they left, to continue their ‘mission’ to spread their poison somewhere else, to eager listeners with anger and hate in their minds.

So we had our free speech. Only, it wasn’t “free”. There was a cost attached.

The price for their free speech has been paid-in-full. By the gods, we paid dearly.

Or at least, people of colour; of another religion; another ethnicity, paid. Those earnest, white, Free Speech Advocates who called for free speech – they didn’t have to pay the price.

The alleged shooter reportedly approached a white male by-stander outside one of the Mosques and spared his life. Because the person was white. Fortynine others were not so lucky. Wrong skin colour.

I hope that Aotearoa New Zealand’s naive notions of free speech for visiting far right extremists has come to an end.  Extremists have no natural, “god-given” right to enter our country. That “right” has never existed and was an indulgence we mistakenly encouraged.

The price to pay is too high.

15 March was a day when thousands of  young people took to the streets to demand action on worsening climate change; which would impact on them and steal their futures. Meanwhile another “grownup” was committing cold-blooded murder. On a day which should have been positive and filled with youthful  idealism and hope…

… it ended in tragedy and tears and grief that would break our hearts.

15 March 2019 – it was the best of days, it was the worst of days.

15 March 2019. Our Day of Infamy.

#Love

#Christchurch

#ThisIsNotWhoWeAre

.

.

.

References

Radio NZ: Christchurch mosque shootings – ‘This can only be described as a terrorist attack’ – PM Jacinda Ardern

Twitter: Matthew HootonMatthew Hooton

Twitter: Tau HenareTau Henare

Maori TV: Christchurch shootings – Man charged with murder

Fairfax/Stuff media: New GCSB bill allows spying on Kiwis

Radio NZ: Focus on Politics – 11 March 2016  (alt. link)

Budget 2008/09: Vote Communications Security and Intelligence

Budget 2008/09: Vote Security Intelligence

Budget 2018/19: Vote Communications Security and Intelligence

Budget 2018/19: Vote Security Intelligence

Radio NZ: Thompson and Clark spied on earthquake victims, inquiry finds

Radio NZ: Private investigators used vehicle register to spy on environmentalists for years

Twitter: Simon Bridges – 15.3.2019 2.49PM

Twitter: Frank Macskasy – 15.3.19 6.29PM

Southern Poverty Law Centre: Stefan Molyneux

Fairfax media: Southern and Molyneux good test for our free speech tolerance video

Mediaworks/Newshub: Jacinda Ardern ‘simply can’t’ be both a mum and Prime Minister – Stefan Molyneux

Fairfax media: Oscar Kightley – This free speech victory tastes a little strange

Reuters: Gun control support fades three months after Florida massacre – Reuters/Ipsos poll

Previous related blogposts

Audrey Young, Two Bains, old cars, and… cocoa?!?!

National Party president complains of covert filming – oh the rich irony!

An Open Message to the GCSB, SIS, NSA, and Uncle Tom Cobbly

Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland

One Dunedinite’s response to the passing of the GCSB Bill

The GCSB Act – Tracy Watkins gets it right

The GCSB Act – some history

The GCSB – when plain english simply won’t do

The GCSB law – vague or crystal clear?

The Mendacities of Mr Key #1: The GCSB Bill

Campbell Live on the GCSB – latest revelations – TV3 – 20 May 2014

The real reason for the GCSB Bill

Letter to the Editor: John Campbell expose on Key and GCSB

A letter to the Dominion Post on the GCSB

Big Bro’ is Watching You!

The GCSB law – Oh FFS!!!

Dear Michael Cullen: the GCSB is not International Rescue!

“Free speech” – The Rules according to the Right

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 17 March 2019.

.

.

= fs =

Trumpwatch: Muslims, mandates, and moral courage

6 February 2017 2 comments

.

160608212103-donald-trump-june-7-large-169

 

.

Muslims…

Trump revealed his extraordinary Executive Order on 28 January. With the flourish of a pen, he banned refugees and demanded  travellers from seven predominantly muslim nations be subjected  to “extreme vetting” (whatever that is). Seven countries were singled out;

.

countries banned by Trump - countries that have killed americans

Acknowledgement: Martyn Bradbury, “The utter madness of Trump’s #MuslimBan”

.

Of those seven two (Iraq and Somalia) have been invaded by the American Empire; one has been the target of sanctions for supposedly working toward developing an atom bomb (Iran, not Israel); and two others are currently experiencing vicious civil wars (Syria and Yemen).

Interestingly, as others have pointed out, several countries are noticeable by their absence – chiefly Saudi Arabia.

This is ironic in the extreme as, the entire world is aware, the worst terrorist atrocity on US soil was committed by fifteen Saudi nationals, on 11 September, 2001. The late-leader of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, was also a Saudi citizen – a so-called “prince”. The remainder were from the United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt (1) and Lebanon (1).

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon do not appear on Trump’s “Sinful Seven”.

Also omitted from the above list: Israel – 34 Americans killed on 8 June 1967, when Israeli motor-torpedo boats and a warplane attacked the USS Liberty, whilst it lay in international waters.

Making matters worse, on a Christian TV channel, Trump threw petrol onto the bonfire he had lit by stating that there would be an exemption to the ban of refugees from Syria;

Worsening the damage, he also signalled, in an interview with a Christian television channel, that the ban would not apply to Christians. Syrian Christians, claimed Mr Trump, were “horribly treated” by his predecessor. “If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible,” he said. “I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.” This was not merely incendiary but untrue: last year America accepted 37,521 Christian refugees and 38,901 Muslims. 

It is peculiar that the worst offender, Saudi Arabia, is not on the list. Especially since Trump made specific mention of the September 11 attack in the second opening  paragraph of his Executive Order;

Section 1. Purpose. The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans. And while the visa-issuance process was reviewed and amended after the September 11 attacks to better detect would-be terrorists from receiving visas, these measures did not stop attacks by foreign nationals who were admitted to the United States.

So having referenced (albeit indirectly)  the fifteen Saudi terrorists – Trump studiously ignored them.

Yet,  Saudi Arabia is  home to “Wahabism” – an extreme form of Islam. Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk described Saudi Arabia as;

“…a Wahhabist state whose 18th-century puritan morality defined the Taliban – which received moral and financial support from Saudis – and whose misogyny and grotesque public beheadings after unfair trials parallel the cruelty of Isis punishments.”

Fisk wrote of the relationship between the American Empire and the Saudi regime;

Under Obama, Saudi Arabia will continue to be treated as a friendly “moderate” in the Arab world, even though its royal family is founded upon the Wahhabist convictions of the Sunni Islamists in Syria and Iraq – and even though millions of its dollars are arming those same fighters. Thus does Saudi power both feed the monster in the deserts of Syria and Iraq and cosy up to the Western powers that protect it.

Bloomberg business news revealed recently that Trump has personal  business dealings in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates,  and Egypt;

.

trumps-business-dealings-and-muslim-country-bans

Source: Bloomberg

.

According to Bloomberg’s research, Trumps business interests are;

Egypt

Trump lists two companies on his FEC filing possibly related to business in Egypt: Trump Marks Egypt and Trump Marks Egypt LLC.

Saudi Arabia

Trump lists companies on his FEC filing possibly related to a development project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest city, located outside Mecca: DT Jeddah Technical Services Manager LLC, DT Jeddah Technical Services Manager Member Corp., THC Jeddah Hotel Manager LLC and THC Jeddah Hotel Manager Member Corp.

United Arab Emirates

The Trump Organization has a licensing and management deal in Dubai with Damac Properties Dubai Co. for a golf course and luxury villas currently under construction. Another Trump-branded golf course, designed by Tiger Woods, is under development with Damac nearby.

According to the same report, Trump also has interests in Israel – which may explain his closeness to that country’s rulers;

Israel

Trump lists two companies on his FEC filing possibly related to business in Israel : Trump Drinks Israel LLC, Trump Drinks Israel Member Corp.

Trump also has ‘had’ (he claims to have sold his share holdings) US$3,900,010 in oil, gas, and coal  companies:

Chevron, Total Capital, Occidental Petroleum, Phillips 66, Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, EOG Resources, Schlumberger, Energy Transfer Partners

On top of Trump’s personal business interests in Saudi Arabia – the United States maintains close economic and military ties  with the Saudi kingdom. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the US sold billions of dollars worth of sophisticated, lethal weaponry to the Saudis;

Saudi Arabia was the top destination for U.S. arms in 2011–2015, purchasing 9.7 percent of U.S. exports. Recent sales approved by the U.S. State Department include Black Hawk helicopters worth a total of $495 million and Patriot Missiles worth $5.4 billion, as well as a $1.3 billion sale of air-to-ground munitions meant to replenish stocks used in Yemen. That has drawn criticism from human rights groups and a couple of U.S. lawmakers, who have cited the high civilian toll of the Saudi-led air campaign. Saudi Arabia’s total arms imports increased by 275 percent over 2006–2010, according to the research organization SIPRI (PDF). The United States also helps Saudi Arabia secure its oil assets by providing training and advisers to Saudi security forces. 

And US-Saudi business interests are closely intertwined;

Saudi government officials and businessmen, both royals and commoners, have deep ties to the United States. Saudi finance, economy, and petroleum ministers all have degrees from U.S. universities. Fahad al-Mubarak, the central bank governor who controls over $700 billion in reserves, mostly in U.S. Treasuries, was previously chairman of Morgan Stanley’s unit in Saudi Arabia. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the kingdom’s most famous billionaire investor, owns stakes in Citigroup and Twitter.

[…]

As the kingdom’s economy expanded over the past decade and its stock market opened up to investors in 2015, many U.S. and European banks are expanding operations in Saudi Arabia. Bank of America has been preparing for the Saudi market opening for years, and Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse have shifted staff from Dubai to Riyadh. U.S. investment funds such as Providence Equity Partners and Apollo Global Management are also seeking to acquire stakes in Saudi companies.

Saudi Arabia’s influence within the US economy has recently taken a sinister turn;

There’s growing bipartisan support for a Senate bill, sponsored by Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican John Cornyn, to allow victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks to sue the Saudi government for recompense for any involvement it may have had in the event. The bill has been motivated by the suspicion that Saudi officials or prominent citizens helped fund the attack, which was perpetrated mostly by terrorists from Saudi Arabia.

This bill is giving Saudi officials serious pause, leading the Saudi finance minister Adel al-Jubeir to warn members of Congress and Administration officials that, if the bill passes, it would be forced to sell off $750 billion worth of U.S. Treasury debt and other American assets, a move that the New York Times said could trigger “economic fallout.”

No wonder that Yemen and Somalia make it on to Trump’s List – but Saudi Arabia does not.

.

Mandates…

On 7 December 2015, on the election-trail, Trump issued his now-infamous state calling for a ban of  muslims entering the United States;

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our countries representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Trump’s Executive Order on 28 January seemingly fulfills that so-called “election promise”.  Trump’s supporters have justified the issuing of that Order on the premise that Trump was simply meeting his promises.

On this issue, we should refer to the lessons of history. Specifically, the rise of nazism in Germany in the 1930s, where Adolf Hitler made certain promises to the electorate;

Hitler offered something to everyone: work to the unemployed; prosperity to failed business people; profits to industry; expansion to the Army; social harmony and an end of class distinctions to idealistic young students; and restoration of German glory to those in despair. He promised to bring order amid chaos; a feeling of unity to all and the chance to belong. He would make Germany strong again; end payment of war reparations to the Allies; tear up the treaty of Versailles; stamp out corruption; keep down Marxism; and deal harshly with the Jews.

[…]

On election day September 14, 1930, the Nazis received 6,371,000 votes – over eighteen percent of the total – and were thus entitled to 107 seats in the German Reichstag.

And;

Hitler Made many promises to the country of Germany in order to come to power. Most of the promises he made, he did not keep. After WWII Germany signed the Treaty of versailles which was the main cause of Germany’s economic problems at the time. The U.S. made loans to Germany to help with its failing economy. But when the market crashed in 1929, the U.S. could not continue to help out Germany. This helped set up Hitler perfectly. The people of Germany wee looking for someone who could help fix all of the ongoing problems they were facing in Germany. At the time they had lost faith in their governments ability to take care of its citizens. Hitler believed he could help the people in Germany and he promised them all relief. He also promised jobs for the unemployed and a market for the farmers goods. Hitler began to appeal to peoples emotions instead of their reason. The people of Germany heard what they wanted to hear and ignored the violence of the Nazi party. Hitler blamed Germany’s problems on the “corrupt” politicians, communists, and Jews. He told Germany that if they got rid of them, all of Germany’s problems would vanish and the whole country would improve. Many people in Germany protested Hitler’s ideas and reasoning.

If a candidate vilifies a minority and is subsequently elected to office by a majority, does that confer the right to attack that minority from a position of power conferred by that office? Is an abuse of political power permissable under the guise of “carrying out an election promise”?  Do we confer a cloak of respectability to bigotry and racism if it is elected to office?

If the answer is ‘yes’, this must constitute a subversion of democracy and universal human rights by allowing a “tyranny of the majority” to oppress a minority.

It means no minority is safe. It means that mob rule trumps Constitutional safeguards and Declarations of Human Rights built up over the centuries.

1930s Germany offers a clear, chilling lesson where that leads.

Sometimes, the minority voice is the morally righteous one;

.

man-refuses-to-salute

.

Questions also arise regarding political agendas  here in New Zealand. National and John Key campaigned in 2014 on concluding a successful TPPA. National won the election.

If Trump has carte blanche to promote his muslim-ban; unimpeded,  because it was an election promise – does that imply that New Zealanders were wrong to protest against the TPPA because National had a mandate?

.

Moral courage…

The growing resistance to Trump’s increasingly fragile administration took a dramatic turn today (31 January). In a move straight out of The West Wing, Madame Secretary, or any other political drama, Attorney General, Sally Yates took a step of moral courage that is a rarity these days;

.

us-attorney-general-sally-yates-fired-in-muslim-ban-row

.

Why was Ms Yates’ refusal to carry out Trump’s Executive Order an act of heroism?

Because sometimes, the only way to stand up to an unjust law is to say, “No”.

To participate in unjust law – and taken to extremes – leads humanity down dark paths of evil, whether fascism, stalinism, apartheid, etc.

Ms Yates could have followed Trump’s orders – but would that have been the morally right thing to do? Can a human being justify injustice by asserting they were “only following orders”?

Again, 20th Century history offers guidance for us;

It was impossible for Eichmann to deny his role in the killing of Europe’s Jews. Servatius adopted the defense strategy that had been used at Nuremberg. Since he could not disavow the crime, he disavowed the responsibility for them. “He was just following orders” Eichmann’s defense was designed to let the SS Officer fade from the stand and replace him with the benevolent bureaucrat, a man whose actions had been misrepresented by the prosecution. He even went so far as to claim that his early actions during the period of forced emigration had been for the benefit of the Jews.

Humanity made a conscious decision in 1945-49 that “following orders” could not be a justification for perpetrating  injustice.

Ms Yates  believed Trump’s Executive Order to be  unjust and possibly illegal, and she took the only possible step. She said “No”. Ironically,  Trump’s Executive Order  makes provision for just this scenario;

This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

Ms Yates was following Trump’s Executive Order – perhaps the only part of it that made sense.

History may judge Attorney General Yates, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, etc; as people who chose to follow their conscience rather than orders.

.

Meanwhile…

Recent events within the American Empire has moved the world closer to Doomsday, according to the planet’s leading scientists – the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BPA). The Doomsday Clock – made famous in popular culture in the 1986 Watchmen  graphic novel and 2009 movie – has moved from three minutes to midnight, to two and a half minutes to midnight;

Scientists have moved the minute hand of the symbolic Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight for the first time.

Leading scientists, who are the clock’s keepers, say the world has edged closer to apocalypse in the past year amid a darkening security landscape and comments by US President Donald Trump.

.

The atomic scientists say the world had edged closer to doomsday [EPA]

The atomic scientists say the world had edged closer to doomsday [EPA]

.

The clock now says the world is 2.5 minutes from apocalypse.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BPA) chief Rachel Bronson urged world leaders to “calm rather than stoke tensions that could lead to war”.

In a report, the BPA said Mr Trump’s statements on climate change, expanding the US nuclear arsenal and the questioning of intelligence agencies had contributed to the heightened global risk.

It is the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1953, when the minute hand was moved to two minutes away following hydrogen bomb tests by the US and Russia.

The minute hand on the Doomsday Clock is a metaphor for how vulnerable the world is to catastrophe.

The Trump Administration has led humanity into uncharted waters. Looming on the dark horizon may be the inevitable;

Given the sheer danger to the Republic as well as to the Republicans, Trump’s impeachment will happen. The only question is how grave a catastrophe America faces first. – Robert Kuttner, Huffington Post, 29 January 2017

 

.

.

.

References

The Guardian: Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration – the full text

Wikipedia: Hijackers in the September 11 attacks

Wikipedia: September 11 attacks

Wikipedia: USS Liberty incident

Belfast Telegraph: War with Isis – If Saudi Arabia isn’t fuelling the militant inferno, who is?

The Independent: Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia

The Economist: Donald Trump gets tough on refugees

Bloomberg: Trump’s Immigration Ban Excludes Countries With Business Ties

Bloomberg: Tracking Trump’s Web of Conflicts

New York Times: Trump Speaks With Netanyahu, Seeking to Thaw U.S. Relations

Council for Foreign Relations: U.S.-Saudi Relations

Fortune.com: Could Saudi Arabia Trigger an American Debt Crisis?

Fortune.com: Donald Trump Wants to Stop All Muslim Immigration

The History Place: The Rise of Adolf Hitler – Germans elect Nazis

The Rise of Hitler & Nazism: Hitler’s Promises to Germany

Interest.co.nz: Election 2014 – Party Policies – Trade

Al Jazeera: US attorney general Sally Yates fired in Muslim ban row

Holocaust Research: The Trial of Adolf Eichmann

Radio NZ:   Doomsday Clock moved closer to midnight

Huffington Post: The Inevitability Of Impeachment

Additional

The Independent: Obama knows 9/11 was linked to Saudi Arabia – its massive oil reserves are behind his official visit

Other Blogs

The utter madness of Trump’s #MuslimBan

Previous related blogposts

Black Ops from the SIS and FBI?

The seductiveness of Trumpism

The Rise of Great Leader Trump

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

Trump escalates, Putin congratulates

Trumpwatch: Voter fraud, Presidential delusions, and Fox News

.

.

.

no-stopping-trump

.

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

.

.

= fs =

One man’s “terrorist”, is another man’s freedom fighter…

… an old cliche, but nevertheless true;

.

Willem Arondeus

.

Willem Arondeus was a Dutch resistance fighter who gave his life trying to protect his Jewish countrymen from the Nazis.

Born in Amsterdam in 1895, Willem was one of six children. From a young age, he was a talented artist and his parents encouraged his creativity, until he came out as homosexual at age 17.

In a time when nearly all gay people were in the closet, Willem’s parents could not accept his choice to live openly. Their rejection led Willem to run away from home.

On his own, Willem took odd jobs and eventually became a successful visual artist and writer. He was commissioned to paint a mural for Rotterdam’s town hall, in a style that combined modern abstract painting with a traditional Dutch motif. Willem was a well-respected author who published a popular biography of Dutch painter and political activist Matthijs Maris.

In 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Willem immediately joined the resistance movement, and urged his fellow artists to fight against the Nazi occupation. WIllem published illegal anti-Nazi pamphlets calling for mass resistance against the Germans.

Willem was especially committed to saving Amsterdam’s Jewish community. Bringing in others to the cause, Willem arranged for Dutch Jews to be hidden in people’s homes. He used his artistic skills to create false identity papers.

In 1943, Willem hatched a brazen plan. Dressed as a German Army captain, and with 15 men behind him, Willem boldly marched into the Public Record Office, where lists identifying people as Jews were kept. Willem drugged the guards and planted a firebomb. The resulting blaze destroyed tens of thousands of documents, and delayed or prevented many Jews from being identified by the Nazis.

Unfortunately, Willem was captured by the Germans and sentenced to death. Willem’s last words before being executed in July, 1943 were, “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.”

In 1986 Yad Vashem recognized Arondeus as Righteous Among the Nations.

Because of his sexual orientation, Willem’s story was omitted from Dutch history books. Only in the last 20 years has his courage become widely known.

[Reprinted from Accidental Talmudist]

.

One wonders if the current National government would have added Mr Arondeus to their list of known terrorists, and ACT condemned him for destroying private property?

 

.

.

= fs =

 

Letter to the editor – Time to milk a tragedy again, by our Dear Leader

17 December 2014 4 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Tue, Dec 16, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The Editor
Dominion Post

.

Once again, predictably, our esteemed Prime Minister has exploited a tragic situation for his own political ends.

I refer to his comments on Radio NZ, on 16 December, where he referred to the lone gunman in Sydney as the product of an “ISIS outreach programme”.

There is no evidence whatsoever of any ISIS or any other organisational involvement. Thus far, the gunman appears to have been a narcissistic, deranged individual facing criminal sex-related charges in Australia.

Then Key justified the increase of SIS/GCSB surveillance powers by referencing this lone gunman.

Though good gun-control laws help, no amount of legislation will ever fully curb determined, lone nutters, as David Gray in Aramoana in 1990 showed. Or Martin Bryant in Port Arthur in 1996.

If this is his justification for turning our country into a Police surveillance state, then we have been grievously misled.Shame on Key for exploiting this tragedy and mis-stating the facts for political opportunity.

I would have thought he had learnt his lesson from his Pike River Mine involvement and broken promises.

-Frank Macskasy

 

[address & phone number supplied]

.


 

References

Radio NZ:  A tragedy for the Australian families – Key


 

.

No more anarchy

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the editor – Witches, foreign fighters, and other bogeymen…

30 November 2014 5 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date: Sun, Nov 30, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor 

.

The editor
The Listener

.

A few hundred years ago, it was witches and jews. But burning witches and persecuting jews is  socially passé, so the powers-that-be require new Bogeymen with which to frighten the citizenry.

That is, if the citizenry can shift their glazed eyes from such ‘conciousness-raising’ (note sarcasm) offerings such as “The Block”, “Big Brother Australia”, “The Voice”, “My Kitchen Rules”, et al, to become frightened of black-garbed “Jihadists”.

Funny old world… the masses indulge in their televised ‘opiates’, “reality TV”, and in doing so by-pass the Real World in which they live in.

Because, when you think about it, here’s the irony: in 1985, after French agents/terrorists bombed the Rainbow Warrior, killing an innocent man. The State did not react by passing a gaggle of laws increasing surveillance, police powers, and other draconian measures. The government of the day simply allowed the Police to get on with the job of apprehending the culprits.

Meanwhile, 29 years later, with not a “Jihadist” or “Foreign Fighter” in sight, this government has enacted more repressive laws and extended State surveillance, than at any time in our short colonial history.

Our esteemed Prime Minister – who currently has hearing, perception, and memory problems of his own – seems hell bent on protecting us from “enemies” a world away, and who, like most Americans,  probably aren’t even aware of our existence. (Until, of course, he deploys SAS troops to Iraq. That will no doubt attract the attention of IS like a red flag to a bull. Nice one, Dear Leader.)

This government could install cameras in every home in the country; set up roadblocks and checkpoints at every intersection in our cities; enact a dusk-to-dawn curfew (except Friday and Saturday nights, so bars and alcohol retailers can still ply their trade)  – and the slumbering masses would simply switch channels from “Home Improvements” to “Masterchef Outer Mongolia”.

If apathy was a strength, we would be a reigning world superpower. (If the middle classes could be bothered.)

-Frank Macskasy

.


Other blogs

Local Bodies: Five Reasons Why John Key Should Resign

How Melulater Sees It: Why rushing legislation isn’t democratic and doesn’t meet the standard.


 chris finlayson democracy slayer - six months of chit chat

Reference to “Six months of chit chat

.

 

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the editor – Key paints a dirty, great, big bullseye on our country!

25 October 2014 5 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Thu, Oct 23, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The editor
Dominion Post

.

On Radio NZ, on 23 October, I was gobsmacked to hear this from  our esteemed leader, John Key, when he spoke in relation to joining the US in some kind of military action against ISIS;

 

“What we’re doing is all humanitarian but if that position was to change, the advice we’ve had is there wouldn’t be a material change to the risk that New Zealanders face.

In other words, we potentially already face some international, regional, and who knows, even domestic risks and those don’t dramatically change.”

 

No “ material change to the risk that New Zealanders face” ? He actually thinks “we potentially already face some international, regional, and who knows, even domestic risks and those don’t dramatically change“!

Has he lost his mind?

We all know that Key is renowned for being “relaxed” and “comfortable”. I guess that’s what holidaying on a beach in Hawaii will do for a person.

But it beggars belief that a man of Key’s supposed education and awareness of world affairs believes  that participating in another American-inspired war would not paint a dirty big bullseye on New Zealand.

He is either (a) grossly ignorant (b) badly misinformed, or (c) playing us for fools.

-Frank Macskasy

[name and address supplied]

 

.


 

References

Radio NZ: Access to Parliament to be restricted

Radio NZ: Listen to more on Checkpoint ( 2 min 58 sec )


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the editor – when a Terror Alert really was needed!

19 October 2014 4 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>
date: Tue, Oct 14, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The editor
Sunday Star Times
.
Our esteemed Prime Minister announces that our Terror Alert has “risen” from “very low risk” of a terror attack to a “low risk”. He says,

“We are moving up. So it’s as I’ve been saying, we wouldn’t want to overstate the risk, but New Zealand is becoming riskier,”

Perhaps there was a time, not too long ago, when a Terror Alert was necessary – but was not activated.

In October 2007, the good folk of Ruatoki  would have appreciated an alert that a gang of armed gun-men – commonly referred to as the ” Armed Offenders Squad” and “Special Tactics Group” were about to descend on their community and subject them to several days of terror.

It is supreme irony that the only acts of terror in this country, in living memory, were carried out by an ally bombing a ship in one of our harbours, and armed police descending in force on a peaceful village in the Ureweras.
It is not Islamic extremists that worry me as much as our so-called “friends” and our own government and State para-military.

A Terror Alert in such cases should always be set at Maximum Warning: Don’t trust the bastards.

-Frank Macskasy

 

 

[address & phone number supplied]

.


 

References

TVNZ News: NZ ‘becoming riskier’ as terror alert raised


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the editor – John Key should lead by example

17 October 2014 1 comment

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date: Fri, Oct 17, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The editor
THE  LISTENER

.

 

Many young folk looking to become foreign fighters for the  IS may be impressionable. They are also perceptive.

They probably understand the vicious nature of this group – but when they look at the West, do they see much better? We may not engage in widespread destruction like IS – but the American Empire is noted for thumbing it’s nose at international law in it’s own way;

* An invasion of Iraq based on lies (non-existent “weapons of mass destruction”)

* torture techniques such as water-boarding

* abuse of prisoners, eg, Abu Ghraib

* detention without due legal process at Guantanamo Bay

* ‘extraordinary rendition’, the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer of a person, to avoid due process of the law

* and extra-judicial killings using “drone strikes”, with only Presidential over-sight.

We may not be quite as in-your-face as IS/ISIS/ISIL, but whether you’re a hapless prisoner about to be executed by “Jihadi John”, or a carload of “extremists” about to be blown to bits by an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with deadly missiles, the question asked by many young people must be,

“Explain to us how we are any better?”

We currently have the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, Search and Surveillance Act 2012, Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013,  and the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Act 2013. How much more does our esteemed Prime Minister need to control us?John Key can implement all the Soviet-style mass surveillance;  restrictions on travel; cancelling passports;  etc, he likes. He can fill our jails with political detainees. But in the end, if we give young people nothing better to believe in, it will all be pointless.

Leading by example will achieve much more than restricting our liberties, invading our privacy, and monitoring our communications as part of  creeping authoritarian legislation.
The eventual failure of the Soviet police apparatus and reliance on propaganda to suppress it’s populace should have  been a salient lesson for this government.

-Frank Macskasy

[Address & phone number supplied]

 

.


 

References

Radio NZ: PM says NZ part of ‘broader’ coalition

 


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the editor – Daleks, Kim Jong-un, Elvis, and Roger Douglas

17 October 2014 2 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

 

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date: Tue, Oct 14, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The editor
NZ Herald
.
Our esteemed Prime Minister announces that our Terror Alert has “risen” from “very low risk” of a terror attack to a “low risk”. (13 Oct)Key states that our risk of a “terror attack” has gone from “unlikely” to “possible but not expected”.

I could add a few more “possible but not expected” terror scenarios;

* Daleks landing at the United Nations, demanding our immediate surrender or face extermination,

* an asteroid smacking into our planet, wiping out 99% of the human race and civilisation,

* Kim Jong-un decides to replace North Korea’s totalitarian state with a 1960s-style hippie free-love commune

* Elvis really is alive and working at a KFC outlet in Huntly.
* Roger Douglas recanting.
When one thinks about it, anything is “possible but not [necessarily]  expected”.
Hardly a sound reason for the Prime Minister to be needlessly creating anxiety with the public? Anyone would think that our government was trying to instill fear  in people so as to justify expanding state power?
-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

.


 

References

TVNZ News: NZ ‘becoming riskier’ as terror alert raised


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

.

= fs =

Letter to the editor – The New Vietnam; who is first?

16 October 2014 5 comments

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Listener <letters@listener.co.nz>
date: Thu, Oct 16, 2014
subject: Letters to the editor

.

The editor
The Listener
.

Our esteemed Prime Minister seems very keen and eager to show our American cuzzies that we can contribute to the war in the Middle East.

In which case, if we are going to put “boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria, who will be filling those boots?

Will it be the sons and daughters of National Ministers?

And when the first coffins start returning home, will Mr Key be on the tarmac, seeing them unloaded?

Or will he be “otherwise engaged”, watching his son play baseball in the US?

 

-Frank Macskasy

.
[address & phone number supplied]

.


 

References

Radio NZ:  PM’s assurances over US meeting questioned

TVNZ News: Slain soldier criticised Key for missing troops’ funeral


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

.

= fs =

Categories: The Body Politic Tags: , ,

Letter to the editor – The martians are coming! The martians are coming!

16 October 2014 1 comment

.

Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking

.

from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: Tue, Oct 14, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor

.

The editor
Dominion Post
.

Our esteemed Prime Minister announces that our Terror Alert has “risen” from “very low risk” of a terror attack to a “low risk”. (13 Oct)

Key states that our risk of a “terror attack” has gone from “unlikely” to “possible but not expected”, saying,

“We are moving up. So it’s as I’ve been saying, we wouldn’t want to overstate the risk, but New Zealand is becoming riskier,”

So what does Key do to reduce potential risks to this country?

He announces he is considering greater involvement in the Middle East conflict against ISIS.

Smart move, Prime Minister. You’ll have us up to “Attack: Imminent” in no time at all.

Subjecting the public to fear-generating announcements is certainly one way to guarantee re-election in three years’ time.

-Frank Macskasy

[name & address supplied]

 

.


 

References

TVNZ News: NZ ‘becoming riskier’ as terror alert raised

 


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

.

.

= fs =

 

Letter to the Editor: John Key and State-sanctioned murder

17 April 2014 6 comments

.

old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879.

FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:56:14 +1200
TO:     "Dominion Post" <letters@dompost.co.nz> 

.

The Editor
DOMINION POST

.

A New Zealand citizen is killed - murdered, to be more
precise - by a US drone attack in Yemen, and our esteemed
Prime Minister responds; 

"I think they are legitimate, at certain times, where
countries are trying to contend with very dangerous
situations and they are trying to deal with those terrorists
without putting their own people in harm's way... I think
all that shows is the things that I have been saying for
quite some time that we need our intelligence agencies to
track our people, that there are New Zealanders who go and
put themselves in harm's way have all been proven to be
correct".

The New Zealander concerned has not been convicted of any
offence. We don't even know the extent of his involvement
(if any) in any so-called "terrorist" organisation. 

His fate was simply signed and sealed by some unknown
person(s) in Washington.

This is what is known as an extra-judicial killing; where a
person is summarily executed by the State, without any due
process of the law.

This was not justice, it was murder.

And for John Key to wash his hands of this terrorist act
with sophistry shows the lengths to which he has abandoned
any pretense of justice and surrendered to faceless killers
in Washington.

God help us - who is next? And is this what we can expect in
the 21st Century?


-Frank Macskasy

.

(Address & phone number supplied)

.


 

References

NZ Herald: New Zealand, Australian men killed in Yemen strike


 

.

Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

.

.

= fs =

In remembrance of Ernie Abbott

5 April 2014 1 comment

.

 

Ernie Abbott

Ernie Abbott, Vice President, Caretakers and Cleaners Union, d. March 27, 1984

 

.

Wellington, NZ, 27 March 2014: Over a hundred people packed the lobby of Trades Hall, at 126 Vivian Street, in downtown Wellington, to commemorate the terrorist attack on the Wellington Trades Hall, thirty years ago;

.

Wellington_trades-hall_ernie-abbott

.

The bombing, by an unidentified person, instantly killed Ernie Abbott, Vice President, Caretakers and Cleaners Union, and caretaker of the  Wellington Trades Hall.

Live music, provided by the good folk of the  Brass Razoo Solidarity Band (in vibrant, socialist-red);

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

A diverse mix of people filled the lobby,

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

Numbers swelling through the late afternoon;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

(Note: problem with camera-setting caused some unexpected blurring in images.)

Some of the rooms leading from the ground-floor lobby were opened up to make room for swelling numbers, as those who were not even born at the time mixed with those who lived through that bloody event in our recent history;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

A rose between two thorns (love that cliche!), left-to-right (not necessarily a political description),  Grant Robertson, MP for Wellington Central; former Labour MP for “Island Bay” (now Rongotai) Electorate, Liz Tennett; and current MP for Hutt South, Trevor Mallard;

.

Grant Robertson_Liz Tennett_Trevor Mallard

.

From left-to-right, Henry; SFWU organiser, Daele O’Connor; and Rod;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbot

.

As the time approached 5.19 pm – when the suitcase-bomb detonated  on 27  March  1984,  Paul Tolich called for everyone’s attention, and addressed the crowd;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

Former Labour MP, Graham Kelly,  amongst the crowd, listening to speakers;

.

Graham Kelly_New Zealand trade unionist

.

As the clock neared 5.19pm, Paul Tolich, called for a minute of respectful silence, and the lobby and side-rooms fell quiet;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

Wellington Trades Hall secretary, Graeme Clarke,   who was Wellington District Secretary of the Federation of Labour in 1984,  was the next person to speak;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbot

.

“In the 1970s, I wasn’t familiar with the idea that kids went to school hungry. I used to socialise with my workmates and people had enough money to put food on the table, to look after  their kids. But from the 1970, a campaign was organised against the Union movement and it’s been going on, off and on, ever since.

That campaign has been to weaken the Union movement, to divide it, to undermine it, and today we have a situation where 200,000 kids go to school hungry. And that is the legacy of that campaign… of which the bombing here was a part.

And I reflect on that, that as trade unionists, we need to re-double our efforts , to revive and rebuild the movement so that we can actually restore dignity and justice to working people.

My memory of the day was that we were in that room behind us, which in those days room room 2. Before that was that was the Harbour Board Workers Union rooms, and I was at the time the Secretary of the Wellington District Council of the Federation of Labour. We had a wage freeze on, because “wages were the cause of rising prices”, and so Muldoon had frozen wages and there was to be no wage increase whatsoever, while he squeezed rising prices out of the system.

As unionists we didn’t like that. We didn’t think that that was just or reasonable because prices were still going up. And so met in this room to plan ongoing steps in our campaign against the wage freeze. The print room was just around the corner, and our printer, George Thompson, was busy churning out the leaflets. And while we sat in that room, on the other side of the wall, just around the corner, a bomb was sitting.

If it had gone of earlier, it could have taken away the whole of the management committee of the Wellington Trades Council. It was some good fortune that I’m here today, because when we  left, I left with Pat Kelly. And we walked out that door with arms full of leaflets. Pat saw the suitcase, but our arms were too full to actually be bothered with picking up a suitcase that had nothing to do with us.

So we walked out and went to our meeting, and we heard a few minutes after we got to the meeting that there had been some kind of incident at Trades Hall. We came back, rushed back, to find out what had happened…

It was a bomb. There was one victim of that bomb, and that’s what has brought us all here today.”

.

Graeme was followed by Richard Wagstaff, National Secretary for the PSA and Vice President of the CTU;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

“Today we think back 30 years to the day when Trades Hall was bombed. 27 March of 1984.

Thirty years since Ernie Abbott was instantly killed when he picked up the booby-trapped suitcase lying in the foyer. Doing his job as building caretaker. The violence of his death shocked the nation.

Ernie was a working man. Like so many others, he had come to New Zealand for a better life. He was a union man and vice president of the Cleaners and Caretakers Union. He was a friend of Pat Kelly, the union secretary.

Nobody has been brought to account for the bombing. We don’t know who killed Ernie, though some amongst us have their suspicions.

We do know that it was an ugly time in New Zealand politics. The nation had been polarised by the intimidation and divisive tactics of a domineering prime minister.

Unions were amongst the few to challenge Muldoon’s increasingly dictatorial approach. As he tried to cling on to power, he set out to demonise unions and their leaders. That was the climate of the times.

The bombing was an attempt to kill people who worked for unions. Trades Hall was where the staff of several unions worked. Ernie was the unwitting victim. It could have been so many more.
As we remember that terrible event, let us not forget the other victims of anti-union aggression in New Zealand.

Frederick Evans, batoned to death by a police officer on the 12th of November 1912, during the Waihi strike. Like Ernie, he wasn’t someone in the public eye, but a union member who happened to be there.

Christine Clarke who died on the 31th of December 1999, two days after being bowled over by a angry driver as she stood on a picket-line at Lyttelton Port. Christine was there to show her support for workers in her community who were fighting to keep their jobs.

None of these people – Fred, Ernie and Christine – sought public attention. But we will always remember them.

As we also remember those who went to work and did not return.

This year we have set up a new fund to help the families who have lost a loved one, killed at work.

This Workers’ Memorial Day – Monday 28 April – we will be having a street collection. If you can give an hour or two between 7.30 and 9.30 in the morning, please give your name to Rebecca Matthews.

Let us now take a minute to think about Ernie Abbott and unionists everywhere who have been killed because of their beliefs.”

 

The last speaker, was Peter Cranney, who in 1984 was Vice President of the Wellington Cleaner’s Union, and is currently a lawyer specialising in workers’ advocacy;

.

Peter Cranney

.

“Our job is to continue the work that Ernie Abbott was doing. Our dear brother Ernie is not here, but what he suffered, and what he lost, is an important part of working class history and it must never be forgotten; his name must never be forgotten…”

Listening to the speakers, Cath Wallace (L) from ECO, and  Catherine Delahunty, from the Green Party;

.

Cath Wallace_Catherine Delahunty

.

Green MPs Denise Roche and Catherine Delahunty;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott_Denise Roche_Catherine Delahunty

.

Former Alliance activist, Carrick Lewis (L) and Martin (R);

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

As the commemorative service drew to a close, people filed out of the Hall, with some continuing to chat, catching up, and sharing memories of past times;

.

Wellington Trades Hall Bombing_Ernie Abbott

.

If we take one thing from this event, it is this…

The nameless individual who, through a vile, cowardly, criminal act, took an innocent man’s life will be forever unknown – much like society’s detritus that lies unmarked and forgotten in land fills dotted around the country.

But the name of Ernie Abbott will live on – remembered as a part of our history.

 

.

  “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.” – William Shakespeare

.

*

.

References

Fairfax Media: 30 years on: Wellington’s unsolved Trades Hall mystery

NZ History: Trades Hall bombing

Other Blogs

Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty : In Memorium: Ernie Abbott

G.Blog: Sorry Ruth, there is a more evil New Zealander than you after all

The Standard: 30th anniversary of the Trades Hall bombing

Copyright (c) Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

» Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
» Where purpose of use is commercial, a donation to Child Poverty Action Group is requested.
» At all times, images must be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals or groups.
» Acknowledgement of source is requested.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 March 2014.

 

 

 

 

.

.

= fs =

September 11, Keystone Cops, and “toy soldiers”…

22 March 2012 2 comments

|

|

When the world changed irrevocably on 11 September 2001,  at 8.46am (local time), that seismic shift reached our country as well.  As the USA declared it’s “War on Terror” (more accurately, “War of Terror”, as ‘Borat’ suggested in his eponymous movie), New Zealand moved in lock-step and adopted stringent airport security procedures; locked up a  refugee as a “security risk“, though never charged or convicted of anything; and enacted a draconian anti-terrorist law.

In the backdrop of a global post-11 September hysteria,  early-morning raids in October 2007 involved more than three hundred police conducted searches in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch using warrants  under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

The Solicitor-General, David Collins,  subsequently refused to lay charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 – saying the law was “almost impossible to apply in a coherent manner“. Only  firearms charges remained.

Finally, of the original 18, four stood trial this year. Of the firearms charges, roughly half were proven and the remaining dismissed. The Jury could not agree on the charge of “participating in an organised criminal group“,

|

Full Story

|

So what have we ended up with?

All for some rather ordinary firearms charges – and even those were not all proven.

Jeezus H. What a monumental waste of resources, time, and money. The police could  just as easily and simply sent a couple of the local ‘Bobbies’ (who probably knew everyone around the Ureweras anyway); pulled Tame and his mates up; told them all to knock off playing ‘toy soldiers’; and meet up at the local pub for a drink instead.Sorted.Cost; $10 in petrol.

I’ll depart from my normal partisanship and say that neither Labour nor the Nats come out of this smelling of roses.

This sh*t makes the Keystone cops look gooood…

I live in eternal hope that this expensive fiasco has been a salient lesson to our elected representatives, and those who manage our police force. American style terrorism hysteria is never a good starting point to investigate a possible crime and mount prosecutions.

The impression many people will get out of this is that the police were overly  “gung ho” and both Labour and National politicians lost their capacity for common sense.

Cost to tax-payers: $6 million and mounting.

Cost to society: a waste.

|

* * *

|
Other Blog posts

Chris Trotter: Failing The Crown

|

= fs =