Apr 162014
 

Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister

By John Minto / April 17, 2014
- See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/04/17/drone-murder-of-new-zealander-justified-by-prime-minister/#sthash.p0EVdkTD.dpuf
I’ve no idea what this murdered New Zealander was doing in Yemen – and I’m certain neither does John Key. The US National Security Agency has fed selective information about the strike to our GCSB which has fed selective information to the Prime Minister who has fed selective information to the hapless public of New Zealand.

Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference.

Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies that apparently this New Zealander was a terrorist who went to a terrorist training camp in Yemen and that Key thought these types of drone strikes were justified when dealing with “these types of people.

I’ve no idea what this murdered New Zealander was doing in Yemen – and I’m certain neither does John Key. The US National Security Agency has fed selective information about the strike to our GCSB which has fed selective information to the Prime Minister who has fed selective information to the hapless public of New Zealand.

Other media reports at the time of the drone strike in August 2013 said it took out “suspected al-Qaida operatives”. Who would know? In fact the majority of people killed in US drone strikes have been civilians.

A Human Rights Watch report released last year examined six such strikes in Yemen carried out between 2009–2013 and found that of the 82 people killed, at least 57 were civilians. Was this New Zealander just more collateral damage? We don’t know and we can’t expect the government or our spy agencies to tell us.

The HRW report also concluded that the drone strikes it examined “may have violated the laws of war because the individual attacked was not a lawful military target or the attack caused disproportionate civilian harm.”

All we do know for sure is that this New Zealander never got charged, never got a trial but that somewhere in the US a decision was made for the mass assassination of a group he was with – the kind of murderous act which has been condemned by governments and human rights groups around the world.

Here are a few critical questions for our Prime Minister.
•What evidence is there this New Zealander was a “terrorist” or was the label added after his death to justify the crime?
•How long had the GCSB been spying on him?
•Why was he allowed to travel overseas when other New Zealanders wanting to go overseas to fight in places like Syria for example have had their passports seized?
•What was he doing when he was killed?
•Why did the US launch a drone strike against him?
•If there was evidence of terrorist activity why was he not simply arrested when he returned to New Zealand or entered a third country?
•Was New Zealand informed by the US before they attacked and killed this kiwi citizen?
•If so what was the response of our spy agencies and their political master John Key?
•If New Zealand was not informed then why not?
•In aligning this country in support for US drone strikes what additional terrorist threat does that expose New Zealanders to?
•Why did the government not make the information about the killing public at the time when it occurred?
•Would the government ever have made this public if the information has not leaked out?

In typically cynical fashion Key is using this incident to bolster support for the GCSB and the massive increase in the power it was given last year to spy on us. He says it shows why we need the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders.

No it doesn’t My Key – it shows why the GCSB must be closed and why New Zealand must develop an independent foreign policy rather than one which aligns to deadly US foreign policy and increases the risk of terrorist attacks on New Zealanders.

Mar 122014
 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11217797

David Fisher
Senior reporter of the year

Snowden: US helped create loopholes in NZ law
3:12 PM Tuesday Mar 11, 2014

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden says the United States’ spy agency has helped find or create loopholes in New Zealand law to enable widespread spying.

In testimony to the European Parliament, the exiled former NSA worker said the agency’s Foreign Affairs Division put pressure on other countries to change laws to create legal gaps through which mass surveillance could be carried out.

Read Mr Snowden’s full written testimony here

He said lawyers at the United Kingdom’s GCHQ were also engaged in finding loopholes and both agencies slipped changes past unwitting politicians.

“In recent public memory, we have seen these FAD ‘legal guidance’ operations occur in both Sweden and the Netherlands, and also faraway New Zealand.”

Read full article here

Feb 092014
 

We are pleased to support the Rethink911 campaign and have put up posters in the Capital City.

!cid_1277C6E9-7456-4247-BB7E-3067ABC43E20@hsd1_ca_comcast_net

We have put 4 A1 size Rethink 911 posters on a pole on the Terrace near the Radio New Zealand building. This pole is also located very close to the Institution of Professional Engineers in Engineers House and also the New Zealand Fire Service and Union at no 80 The Terrace.

ReThink_Terrace01

We have also put up 4 A1 posters on a pole on the busy street corner of Willis and Manners Street which is located near the Dominion Post office.

1 Manners Street, Wellington (2)

The dates the posters will be displayed will be Sunday 9 February to Sunday 16 February inclusive.

We have sent open letters to Radio New Zealand Open Letter to Radio New Zealand from NZ911truth and to the Dominion Post Open Letter to Dominion Post from NZ911truth asking the programmers and editors to cover Building 7 and the Rethink 911 campaign.

We will also hold our usual street action nearby to one of the poster locations. We will update you on any developments – Watch this space.

Feb 042014
 

Mid Life RetrospectivePortraits Landscapes and 911

After 30 years of living and working together, Roger Morris and Marianne Muggeridge have collaborated in “Mid-life Retrospective: Portraits, Landscapes and 911”, a show at the Percy Thomson Gallery in Stratford, Taranaki in March this year. Morris and Muggeridge live and work in a home-studio custom built by them in 1988-90, at the upper end of Oeo Road, South Taranaki, very close to the Mountain. Their work chronicles their lives there, and a just ended 11 year stint in Willis St. Wellington, as fulltime artists and parents, often featuring daughters Lucy and Myfanwy, and now granddaughter Azra.

Jan 232014
 


Christchurch lecturer loses job when
scientific “web of deceit” is unraveled.


SpiderPig
In a joint announcement in London on January 22, the Royal Entomological Society and the British Arachnological Society have announced what many biologists have long suspected: that spiders are just a type of insect and not a separate species.

Professor of entomology Benjamin Siegel was joined on stage by arachnologist Professor Peter Parker for a press conference at the London Natural History Museum. Professor Parker, in an emotional speech, said that while it was difficult for him personally to “climb down from a web of deceit”, he thought it was “best for science” to admit that arachnology was “junk science”, and to rationalise the study of spiders, incorporating the study of all of “God’s creepy crawly creatures” into the more respectable field of entomology.

“It’s something that has been bugging me for the last six or eight years, I forget which. I started getting this tingling sensation when I read about the secret of the origin of arachnology…” At that point, Professor Parker became too emotional to continue, with his appearance also beginning to alter slightly. Professor Siegel quickly took the microphone while Professor Parker was rushed offstage.

“What Professor Parker was referring to was the foundation not only of the separate branch of ‘arachnology’, but the compartmentalisation of academia in general led by Thomas Henry Huxley. Mr Huxley is remembered today as the grandfather of Aldous and Julian Huxley, but in his day, he was best known as a great promoter of Sir Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. In fact, he was known as ‘Darwin’s bulldog‘. Actually, he looked a lot like a bulldog, but that may have been from, uh, shall we say, a certain lack of, erm, genetic diversity in the Huxley bloodline.”

Professor Siegel went on to explain that in the wake of budget cuts, a dramatic increase in arachnophobia statistics, and the need to popularise the study of science, the latest academic thinking is that the dangerous trend of over-specialisation in scientific fields needs to end. The new trend is to combine fields where possible, pooling budgets and thereby gaining synergy and better cooperation among scientists in closely related fields. “As for insects and spiders, they have more DNA in common than neanderthals and homo sapiens,” he explained. “You don’t have a separate branch of science for humans with polydactyly, do you? It’s a distinction without a difference. Plus, we don’t want to miss important discoveries by not talking to each other, like when the CIA and FBI didn’t talk to each other before 9/11. Look what happened there.”

At that point, Professor Siegel took some questions from reporters on the scene. Celebrity reporter Glynnis Gruenforest of the PayPal funded News Source Alliance (NSA) asked, “But what about the different numbers of legs that bugs and spiders has? Doesn’t spiders have about 10 legs at least?”

Professor Siegel patiently explained that insects have 6 legs and two antennae, and spiders have 8 legs. “But, the top two legs of spiders evolved from antennae, so spiders are just a mutated form of insects. There is now a scientific consensus that this mutation occurred during the meteor crash that killed off all the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Computer models now prove that there was significant radioactivity in the meteor that caused that particular mutation. It also caused the two top body lobes to partially fuse and to start secreting radioactive webs with which they were able to catch unsuspecting bugs, er, insects.”

Professor Siegel admitted that this rationalisation of scientific disciplines could result in job losses in academia. In Christchurch, prominent science “communicator” Dr Simon “Spidey” Pollard has just been pink-slipped by his employer, Canterbury University. Doctor Pollard said he was “shocked but not surprised” at the double whammy of losing his job and losing his beloved specialty, the popularisation of spiders, but he was most indignant at having to read about his dismissal on the Internet.

“And and you know it’s very interesting I happened to online read an article this morning umm actually the Guardian has been doing lots of articles on this and you know people just look for patterns where there just aren’t any and the thing was it was all a conspiracy and we just can’t help it cos our brains are just wired that way when it sends messages to the amigdyla and then it sends messages to other parts of the brain to start analysing flat out what’s going on. And you know those entomology guys are all out to get me cos you know they’re just jealous of my pop… my success and it’s like what do they have? They just have bugs. Bugs! And nobody wants to be a fly even if Hollywood did like nine remakes of The Fly but who cares and so what if Howard Shore wrote an opera about The Flies and wasn’t the Lord of the Flies himself a, a kind of a dysutopian? But spiders cos they’re aspirational are cool and who wouldn’t want to be Spiderman and yeah no there’s even SpiderPig on the Simpsons so even pigs want to be spiders. Our brains are just wired that way.”

Canterbury University spokesman Ali Oxford Frei apologised to Dr Pollard for the communication failure. He said, “We apologise to Dr Pollard if the communication failure caused him any emotional anguish or uncontrolled outbursts of run-on sentences. But it was a cockup, not a conspiracy. Dr Pollard was out of town doing his job of science communication when we were trying to reach him. He was reading ‘My Pet Spider‘ to a group of school children in Invercargill. We attempted to contact Dr Pollard a couple of times, but we had a deadline for the evening news cameras, so we just couldn’t wait to release the news. His driver whispered something in his ear, but he just kept on reading that dam…, excuse me, darned book, looking like a deer in the headlights.”

Radio New Zealand issued a statement when asked by RadioActive about Doctor Pollard’s future on the Nine To Noon programme as their “science commentator”, saying that they are “currently seeking other science commentating opportunities”. A popular weekday morning host spoke to RadioActive under condition of anonymity. She said, “Now that Simon has gone all conspiracy theory on us, we just don’t have a slot for him. I mean, it’s kinda oxymoronic, isn’t it? The science of conspiracy theories? Yeah, Simon was just getting to be too edgy. I think maybe he was all stressed out dealing with his conspiracy theory that turned out to be true, just like 9/11, I mean, Watergate. Anyway, listeners were complaining that Simon wasn’t soothing enough. Hmm, maybe now we should get John Hawkesby back.”

But while this downpour of bad news may have temporarily washed Dr Pollard out, he has plans to climb the water spout of success again with not one, but two sequels to his popular book, “I Am Spider“. He has already begun work on a memoir dealing with his struggle with cognitive dissonance in the face of the massive Entomology Department conspiracy against him. In his memoir, Doctor Pollard will finally come out of the closet as a fully metamorphosed conspiracy theorist. “Yeah no I’m sorta umm well it’s like that phoney love doctor guy, you know, Charlie Veitch, only in reverse,” he confessed. His upcoming memoir, “I Am Buggered“, will tell the inside story of his now public conflict with envious colleagues who conspired against him, as well as his own inner conflict with cognitive dissonance.

He refused to reveal details of the other book he’s working on but did hint to one reporter, “Well, you know there’s like this hierarchy thing in nature and and spiders you know umm eat bugs cos their brains are just wired that way and yeah no cos obviously they’re nutritional.” A spokeswoman for celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson, refused to comment on reports that she is collaborating with Doctor Pollard on a new book that one insider says is “simply crawling” with entomophagically themed recipes. The book is rumoured to have a working title of “Nigella Does Entomophagic Magic!“, but Doctor Pollard is said to be holding out for a title more recognisable as a sequel to his previous books, “I Eat Bugs“.

 Posted by at 1:22 am
Jan 232014
 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/9627574/Editorial-Afghanistan-venture-an-exercise-in-futility

OPINION: Afganistan remains a dismal country after 12 years of Western occupation. A United Nations report finds that it is once again becoming a narco-state, with a huge rise in opium poppy cultivation. Corruption is rampant. The Karzai Government controls only a small part of the country. Torture is widely used. The Western intervention in Afghanistan, in which New Zealand played an important role, comes to a dismal end.

The invasion of the country after September 11 was justified and New Zealand was right to back it. The Taliban Government was sheltering Al Qaeda, the terrorist group which had committed the outrage in New York. The United States and its Western partners were justified in responding.

Read the rest of the article here

Dec 182013
 

Thursday, 19 December 2013, 10:12 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government

Hon Murray McCully

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Defence

19 December 2013

Media Statement

NZ to maintain support as Afghanistan mission transitions

New Zealand will maintain its current level of support for international efforts in Afghanistan until December 2014, the Government says.

Twenty seven New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel are currently deployed in behind-the-wire roles based in Kabul, including at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters, ISAF Special Operations Forces headquarters, and Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA).

“The Government has reviewed the mandate for these deployments, which is due to expire next April. Our 27 personnel will remain in Afghanistan to December 2014 to support the final stages of the ISAF mission,” Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

The ISAF mission will be replaced by a training, advice and assistance mission.

“As previously announced, a small number of personnel are expected to remain at the UK-led Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) in roles focused on training assistance and capacity building beyond 2014,” Dr Coleman says.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says New Zealand’s work in Afghanistan is business as usual.

“New Zealand remains committed to fulfilling our role as part of the ISAF mission to secure the gains made in Afghanistan over the last decade.

“New Zealand will continue to make financial and development contributions to Afghanistan. The nature of those contributions has not been finalised.”

ENDS

Dec 122013
 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11171475
A backpacker coming home for Christmas had every bit of electronic equipment stripped from him at the airport.

A Customs officer at Auckland International Airport took law graduate Sam Blackman’s two smartphones, iPad, an external hard drive and laptop – and demanded his passwords.

Mr Blackman, 27, who was breaking up travelling with his journalist fiance Imogen Crispe for a month back in New Zealand for Christmas, was initially given no reason why the gear was taken.

The only possibility of why it occurred was his attendance – and tweeting – of a London meeting on mass surveillance sparked by the Snowden revelations, he said.

However, a Customs official has since told him they were searching everything for objectionable material under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

Mr Blackman said he did not have anything of that nature and could not understand why he had been targeted.

Mr Blackman arrived in Auckland at 5.30am on a flight from Heathrow, travelling through San Francisco.

He declared loose-leaf tea he was carrying as he came through Customs and believed that was responsible for the extensive bag search to which he was subjected.

“He said ‘we’re not worried about the tea’,” Mr Blackman said of the Customs’ official.

The official then returned to going through the bag, pulling out electronic equipment as he did so. “We’re going to have to detain this,” Mr Blackman said he was told. “We’re going to have to send this to a forensic investigator.”

Mr Blackman said when he pulled a phone out of his pocket, the official also took that, refusing permission for him to call his parents who were waiting in the arrival lounge.

He said he was also told to provide passwords for the equipment. “That is a real invasion of privacy.”

One of the phones had no password but required a design to be traced on the screen. The official was unconcerned and said the forensic team would defeat security to access the device, Mr Blackman claimed.

He said he asked why the items were being confiscated and the official refused to say – or to say how long the items would be kept.

Earlier, Mr Blackman said he thought it may have occurred because of his attendance at the London meeting on mass surveillance.

In November, Mr Blackman and Ms Crispe attended a meeting at the Royal Institute of British Architects attended by Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, MPs from across Europe, and spokespeople from groups opposing spying.

A Customs’ spokeswoman refused to discuss Mr Blackman’s case. She said passengers considered “high risk”received attention at the airport. She also said Customs officials were required to have “reasonable cause”to believe an offence had been committed.

“Information or data may be used as evidence of an offence or may be a prohibited item such as objectionable images.”

TechLiberty director Thomas Beagle said the seizure of phones and laptops was a “major interference in your life”in the modern world.

He said Customs law had a pre-digital focus which, when applied to the technical age, did not take into account the amount of personal information or the frequency of use.

“What does this mean for other people? You really have to consider what you take over the border.”

Mr Beagle said his understanding of the law was that travellers did not have to surrender their passwords.

However, he said it meant it was likely the device of interest would then not be allowed into the country.

Source:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11171475