(Original post July 2013, for some unidentified reason WP re-dated this post when I edited a couple of typo’s during the summer.)

I realise that many readers of this blog will think that I am merely an artsy, stroppy feminist with too many opinions traversing policy areas across the spectrum. This is a deliberate strategy that I have undertaken for this stream of publication.

So to ‘break the fourth wall’, I am now going to give you a little of my IRL specifics, in order that what I say about the GCSB Bill now before the House in New Zealand, has a little more validity.

I have been around the IT industry in our country since my early university days. Yep, I failed Comp 101, because it bored me rigid, rather than not understanding how to write binary code. I didn’t want to end up working with those kinda people, doing that kinda work. My sister is of a different personality type, and she loved it, and has had a twenty-five-year career (and counting) in IT, as has my ex-husband. It was during my marriage that I learned most of what I know about the internet, due to contracts my then-husband was working on for his employer, a major MNC which operates in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Don’t kid yourselves that there is anything ‘private’ about what you do on the net.

Don’t buy into the idea that you are ‘a consumer’, the internet is ‘a product’, nor that it is there to entertain you.

What we now call the internet began as Arpanet and DArpanet, projects of the USA Department of Defense, in collaboration with research projects at hand-picked Universities in the USA. It was originally an IT research program to create a secure way of transmitting and collecting data for the DOD. These days, we’d call that an intranet, similar to the kind of WAN that operates inside most corporations for administrative purposes.

The Bill going through our Parliament at the moment is a stage of DOD ‘taking back’ the internet from public use. Surveillance and transmission of surveilled data was always the primary purpose of the net; the Patriot Act in 2001, followed by Terrorism Suppression legislation in most global jurisdictions, was a first attempt to ‘plug the holes’. Creating crimes of knowledge, of dissemination of information, was the beginning of a global campaign by DOD to regain domination of the medium of internet traffic.

It is obvious in the trial of Chelsea Manning, the attempts to smear and discredit Julian Assange of Wikileaks, the hunting down of Edward Snowden (still on-going), that the DOD is very serious about extending its’ capacities to control activities outside the borders of the USA.

This is a breach of the sovereignty of every other nation on earth, and most people are just going to sit by and watch as it happens, not making the connections to totalitarian control of their own lives.

So, on these grounds, I urge every thinking citizen of Aotearoa/New Zealand to join in the protests against the GCSB Bill that is before the House. There is a nationwide protest organised for Saturday 27th July 2013, all events beginning at 2pm.
Because this is only the thin end of a wedge that will see a totalitarian surveillance society established in every nation in the world, if we, the people, do not stop it. It’s too late to make submissions, but this is something anyone can do.
Events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier are listed on FB and there is also a general group for discussion. (outlinks)

Our MP’s have spoken out against this Bill – here on frogblog and here and here on the main Greens website.

If you want to access the submissions that went to the Select Committee hearings, they can be found here (pdf to download).

If you want to view the submissions made during the hearings, video has been uploaded to You-tube. (outlinks)
Submitters Thomas Beagle, from Tech Liberty, Susan Chalmers and Jordan Carter from Internet NZ, Micheal Koziarski, Vikram Kumar, Simon Terry, all made submissions as working professionals contracting in the IT industry.
Keith Locke and Kate Dewes and Robert Green (nuclear disarmament activists) made submissions on the political aspects of the Bill.

Just finished reading IPCA report on Operation 8, over a few cups of tea.
Just in case you don’t fancy reading the whole 88 pages of self-justification by Police National HQ, here’s some edited highlights:

“Findings in relation to Property searches
387. Police actions led occupants at five properties to have reasonable cause to believe that they were being detained while the search was conducted. The detention of occupants at these properties was contrary to law, unjustified, and unreasonable.” => illegal actions by Police Officers.

“390. Police had no legal basis or justification for personally searching occupants. These searches were contrary to law, unjustified, and unreasonable” => illegal actions on the part of Police Officers.

Now is the time for some actual punitive action to be taken by the Police Commissioner.
The Anti-Terror Unit, based in South Auckland, is composed of Police Officers who were recruited from overseas, from countries and forces that had ‘experience’ with anti-terror policing – namely, London Metropolitan Police who had been trained during the period of IRA bombings in the UK, and Afrikaaners from South Africa, who were trained during the ANC’s activities to gain political power in South Africa.
None of these staff came to Aotearoa/New Zealand without a complete set of personal biases, and they do not appear to be re-trained to cultural sensitivity around rights for all citizens in our country. Out of ten positions in the Anti-terror Unit, only one is held by a NZ-born and trained officer – Aaron Pascoe. The guy who authored the very flawed “Pascoe Affadavit” which was used to obtain search warrants on the 10th October, 2007.

Assistant Police Commissioner Jon White, in charge of the ATU, is one of the Afrikaaners. I strongly suggest that if the IPCA is serious about solving the ‘problems’ identified in the policing of the Ruātoki valley in 2007, then getting rid of the racist police officers in the ATU might be a very good place to start.
Then they might consider removing some of the rest of the Afrikaaner officers who have been recruited in to the NZ Police forces over the past ten years, who are a cohort of racists scattered through our towns and cities, to the detriment of unbiased, legal policing of crime.
If they don’t want to go to South Africa, get the Netherlands to take them back.

Note:
The report is available to download and read in full here.

Update:
Good post from Maui Street went up same day, but I’ve been slack checking around the web.

I didn’t know Stephen McIntyre, my NORML friends are almost all local to Wellington where I have been living for some decades now.

I heard of his death when it happened, because he was known to some of my friends. We began our White Flag meeting in August with a minute’s silence in remembrance of his life and his activism.

Just recently, Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury has been doing a series of stories about what happened in the circumstances surrounding Stephen’s death by suicide.
This lead to an article in the NZ Herald, and a follow-up post by Bomber, in response to the Police acting Western Area Commander DI Karyn Malthus, quoted in the Herald piece.

There is more to come tomorrow, says Bomber. This is another case where IPCA has shown themselves to be neither Independent, nor adequately investigating complaints.

I’m just a decade or so outside the boundaries for participation in the Young Greens, but due to my years as a mature, post-grad student at VUW, I know a lot of energetic young people who have gone places in the Greens’ networks.
I’d just like to give a plug for a speech by new Young Greens Co-Convenor Jackson Wood, which you can read here.

Back Benches is still rolling along, last week’s episode involved the sterling efforts of Kennedy Graham to prevent spin from clouding facts on International Relations – you can watch it here.

Coming up, this Wednesday the show goes on tour again, with an initial filming at the Britomart Country Club in downtown Auckland. See Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye perform on a panel with Green’s co-Leader Dr Russel Norman, Winston Peters from NZ First, and new Labour Leader David Shearer. This will be interesting, to put it mildly!
More details at TVNZ On-demand’s website.

The lovely folks running the campaign to Save TV7 have sent me an e-mail advising me of a bunch of things happening around the country.
I’ll paraphrase, but the important part is this, for Aucklanders – go to the public meeting at Freemans Bay Community Centre TONITE Tuesday 15th May, from 7-9pm.

Brian Edwards is moderating a discussion with Clare Curran, Julie Anne Genter, Andrew Williams, Joe Atkinson and the public. They’re still hoping a representative from the Government will join them as well to explain the policy of closing down New Zealand’s last Public Service TV channel.

If you live in Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Dunedin, or Hamilton, your turn is coming up, from 21st May in Welli thru to 13th June in Hamilton – see the Save TV7 site for more details.

The on-line petition is still going, with over 22,000 signatures as of Monday night. Still time for more supporters to sign, so get cracking!

The Save TV7 crew have been busy getting badges, t-shirts and stickers produced, so look out for those at the meetings, and show your support.

There’s also a crowd-sourced ad campaign coming up, a follow-on from the articles and interviews that have been published in various media, and the half-page ad in last Friday’s NZ Herald. Here’s the blurb verbatim:

And finally we’re asking our friends (that’s you) to send us photos of yourselves in striking poses for our future ad campaigns. We’d like shots that put you in context (however that might be) and also a little rant about why TVNZ 7 is important to you. We’ll be compiling lots of the photos into an ad to show the government that there are real people who’ll be affected by the closure of TVNZ 7. Send it to savetvnz7@gmail.com and note that by doing so you agree to have your photo put on the internet and in newspapers up and down the country. So remember to SMILE.

Finally, another plug for my favourite TV7 programme – Back Benches, filming again this week on Wednesday night at the Back Bencher pub in Molesworth St across from Parliament, be there from 8pm-ish to get a seat, or book yourselves a table from 6pm to have dinner before the show.

This week it’s Green Party MP Holly Walker, Labour MP Grant Robertson, National MP Colin King, and New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin.  Gutted I’m away and can’t be there to see this lot tackle the topics of bullying in schools and online, and the ramifications of new social welfare provisions aimed at beneficiary mothers and their children.
More details here.

Update:
The Auckland Meeting went off pretty well – media coverage including video here, by Granny Herald.

Gig poster

Gig poster


Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of the raids in Ruatoki and other places, so there’s a few events to mark the passage of this time.

14th October – Solidarity gig in Wellington

An amazing line-up of musicians including Riki Gooch, Imon Starr, Mara TK, and Bennie Tones will play a free gig at the Southern Cross on Friday, October 14th to celebrate the solidarity and support given to the many people involved in the Urewera case over the past four years.

FREE Gig to commemorate the four-year anniversary of the State Terror Raids on communities throughout Aotearoa, and to celebrate the on-going solidarity and support for the defendants.

Featuring Riki Gooch, Mara TK, Imon Starr, Vanessa Stacey, DJ Hammondhead, Mikki D, Sheeq n La, and Benny Tones.

Venue: Southern Cross, Abel Smith Street, Wellington
Date: 14th October 2011
Time: from 9pm

Operation 8: Deep in the forest

There are opportunities around the country to see the ‘Operation 8’ documentary. The film is now also available on DVD. Have a look in your local DVD store for a copy. For more information see
http://cutcutcut.com/Operation8.html

Waiheke – Waiheke Cinema
Friday, 14 Oct, 8pm

Devenport – Victoria Picture Palace
Thursday, 13 Oct, 3pm
Friday, 14 Oct, 3pm
Saturday, 15 Oct, 3pm
Sunday, 16 Oct, 3pm
Monday, 17 Oct, 3pm
Tuesday, 18 Oct, 3pm
Wednesday, 19 Oct, 3pm

Auckland – Academy Cinema
Thursday, 13 Oct, 12.30pm
Friday, 14 Oct, 12.30pm
Saturday, 15 Oct, 3.45pm
Sunday, 16 Oct, 3.45pm
Monday, 17 Oct, 12.30pm
Tuesday, 18 Oct, 12.30pm
Wednesday, 19 Oct, 12.30pm

Raglan – The Old School
Friday, 14 Oct, 7.30pm

Whakatane – Cinema 5
15 Oct – time tbc

New Plymouth – Arthouse Cinema
17 Oct – time tbc

Wellington – The Paramount
Saturday, 15 Oct, 11.45am
Saturday, 15 Oct, 6.15pm

Dunedin – Metro Cinema
Screenings start 15 Oct

Rahui Katene, Maamari Stephens and Anne Else after the launch

Rahui Katene, Mamari Stephens and Anne Else after the launch

Child Poverty Action Group launched their latest research report Left Further Behind last night, concurrently in Auckland and Wellington. I attended the Wellington launch, so my comments are specifically about the presenters there. I’m sure someone else will write about the Auckland Launch, I’ll link to that when I find it.

The launch was held at the Salmond Room of the Scool of Law, VUW, in Lambton Quay. For those, like myself, who got there after the 6pm internal door lockdown, it was a frustrating experience trying to locate a door into the building that actually got to the area where the launch was being held – not a failure on CPAG’s part, I might add, but on the part of a Faculty that is happy enough to book rooms to outside organisations, but then does not provide adequate access for those unfamiliar with the building. I had to ask a Law Librarian to swipe me through one set of doors, then climbed stairs and discovered that even those who work in the building can’t swipe through into some sectors, necessitating a trawl back down three floors to find a point of access to the back wing of the building, trailing those I’d met along the way.

Consequently, I arrived mid-way through Anne Elses’ opening speech, which drew heavily on facts and figures from the report. Here’s one phrase I will quote in its entirety:

The core message is very simple: ALL children, irrespective of the status and position of their parents or carers, are entitled to the best possible support from their parents and from the whole of New Zealand society. Together we share responsibility for ensuring that children are given that support.

She spoke about the popular notion that ‘relative poverty’ is not such a bad thing as ‘absolute poverty’, which we have seen much of in the media lately; well, those journalists who will blather on about there being no real poverty in NZ just haven’t bothered to do their research, or even to drive down the motorway into South Auckland and take a look firsthand – Middlemore Hospital is a great place to start, although Starship Hospital in central Auckland would have a decent whack of South Auckland children on any given day of the week, too.

One more quote from Anne:

Now here’s the really important part. The discussion in this report demonstrates that child poverty is not inevitable. It is the avoidable consequence of badly designed or inadequately considered policy.

Let me repeat that. Child Poverty is not inevitable. It is the avoidable consequence of badly designed or inadequately considered policy.

Mamari Stephens, a Lecturer in the School of Law, followed Anne, speaking with determination about the chapter she contributed to on The Whaanau Ora approach.
It was a very interesting commentary from someone who teaches welfare law, and admitted that she herself was daunted by the task of reviewing the programme’s implementation trials.
She concluded by saying that she considered that Whaanau Ora hadn’t done much for reducing benefit reliance (one of the key policy objectives), but that the trials did appear to show low income households making an improvement to their ability to cope on fixed low incomes.
Without an increase in jobs available, moving off benefits is problematic, to say the least.

We then heard from Lucie Trask, a final-year Law student, and a member of the Wellington Community Justice Project, who contributed to the chapter on Youth and Unemployment.
The group of law students contributing to this part of the research were present at the launch, and caucused together afterwards – it was great to see such keen young minds focused on this issue.
In her speech, Lucie quoted the figures for youth unemployment – 1 in 5 under 25 years is currently unemployed, a fact John Key does not acknowledge when claiming our statistics for unemployment are such a lot better than North American or European figures.
It gets worse when broken down by ethnicity and socio-demographic location, as the report shows.

Finally, our MC for the evening, Dr Nikki Turner, spoke about the chapter on Child Health and Poverty. This included some very grim facts for those who understood the epidemiological areas she discussed, and was sufficient to remind me of moments in the lives of my own children when access to medical care was precarious – although, being white, educated and slightly better housed when I was on the DPB, my children were not at great peril; not like the pre-schoolers who are admitted each winter to hospitals in Auckland with bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and other infectious conditions that become severe due to the cost or unavailability of access to a GP early in the illness. The figures for maaori and pasifika children are again much worse than those for paakeha children in the same demographic.

There was a brief question time before we broke for refreshments; Labour Deputy Annette King spoke briefly, as did the Green’s co-leader Russel Norman and the Maaori Party’s Rahui Katene in return, completing the round-up of influences at play on the night.
I did spot Brian Easton, whom I was not exactly surprised to see there, but I must say pleased to notice; and our hard-working new Wellington Central candidate James Shaw was also in evidence, networking afterwards with a policy analyst who shall remain nameless, as I went around catching up with my connections from the now-defunct Gender and Women’s Studies School, who were out in force to support CPAG on the night.

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