(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.

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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 went along to the Hamilton NZEI Stand up for Kids – Protect Our Schools rally & march yesterday, thinking it was the least I could do for the teachers who have educated my children, many of whom are still teaching at the same levels, long after my offspring have left their care.

I had the impression that Hamiltonians were not very ‘protesty’ people, and that the teachers might need every radical education policy lefty activist in the region to show up.

When I arrived at the rallying point, there was a huge crew of NZEI marshalls in yellow vests, handing out chant sheets and lovely round purple and red (double-sided) posters for marchers to hold.

They were surrounded by teachers, parents and children, and such a huge collection of banners from schools around the region, along with hand-made signs carried by resourceful marchers and children.
I caught up with a few local Greenies from the Hamilton Branch & the Campus Greens, and managed a short chat with Cath Delahunty before we all set off. Thanks to a young local friend, I have an estimate of around 400 people marching, which I was informed was a very good turnout for Hamilton; dire descriptions of events where the turnout totaled 20 brave bodies followed.

After about a fifteen minute walk, the crowd arrived at Steele Park in Hamilton East, where a stage-truck was set to provide sound amplification for the speakers, and an avid crew of NZEI volunteers sizzled sausages for hungry marchers. Credit was given to Anglican Action for providing the consumables to run the sausage sizzle.
There was much singing and chanting along the way; as you’d expect of teachers, there were very clearly written chant sheets, and a song sheet with waiata and karakia which were used at various points during the proceedings. Local kaumatua were on hand to lead those parts, and give a blessing to the efforts of the marchers.

Speakers included Professor Martin Thrupp, from Waikato University’s Faculty of Education, who spoke about his research into the dreaded National Standards which has pretty much been ignored by the Minister, along with a statement signed by 150 academics in the field of education research – a major feat in itself – which was sent to the Minister.
Green MP Cath Delahunty spoke, exhorting the crowd to ‘vote the Government out’ at the next elections if they want to see their schools maintained at the level of excellence that current standards allow. There was discussion of the effects of the ‘Charter Schools’ policies favoured by the Minister, and a general desire to retain trained, qualified teachers in our education system was expressed both in her speech and on placards held by marchers.
Labour MP Sue Maroney echoed Cath’s call to ‘vote them out’ and said to teachers, encourage parents at your schools to enroll and vote, it’s the strongest message parents can send to the Government.
Anglican Action’s director Karen Morrison-Hume spoke last, praising teachers who are at the pointy end of social welfare, funding breakfasts and even lunches in our decile 1 & 2 schools so that children living in poverty-stricken homes can have at least some chance of learning. She spoke of the parlous situation of charities, who have had donation cuts from big businesses who are less able in the current economic climate to donate food for social programs – alleviation of social distress that should be covered by MSD/WINZ, not teachers or supermarket owners with a conscience.

Coverage of marches around the country was spotty, although I’ve had these media reports brought to my attention (thanks, FB friends …) in Chrischurch, Auckland, and Wellington.

There may be pictures later, sorry folks my capacity for uploading the ones I took is limited; I’m borrowing a camera I don’t know quite how to sync with my desktop system (yet). There’s a work-around, but it’s cumbersome.
Guess I need some intensive re-education as well!

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.

Here in New Zealand, I’ve just been to one of the first events of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, a panel of speakers organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa.

The Stockholm Independent Peace Research Institute figures for 2011 military expenditure have just been released, there’s a summary available here.

Edwina Hughes from PMA spoke about the trillions of dollars spent globally on arms by all militaries of the world’s nations. She was followed by Anne Else from CPAG, who spoke about the effect a small proportion of the NZ MOD spend would have on the outcomes for alleviating poverty in this country. In NZ, we spend a bit over $NZ 3 billion each year, and as has been reported in the news today, not all of that spending is considered, wise or even fully accountable. Then we heard from Tara D’Sousa, International Programmes Manager, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, who spoke about the failure of NZ to keep up with it’s commitment to meet 0.7% of GNI as a target for overseas development assistance, which is a UNDP target.

The Maui’s dolphin is the most critically endangered dolphin in the world. In just a few short years, the population of Maui’s dolphins has halved from 111 in 2005 to an estimate of just 55 left today. The time for talk is over and urgent action is needed. The Government …should use the precautionary principle to put in place an immediate set net ban along the Taranaki Coast and to enlarge the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

Join Green Party MP Gareth Hughes and the last remaining 55 Maui’s dolphins in front of parliament on Wednesday 28th March to help us call for action and to launch our submission guides to the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries to put measures in place to protect this unique species NOW!

12.30pm – 1.30pm, in front of Parliament steps, Wellington.
Facebook event here.

Pictures will magically appear here after the event 😉

Green MP Gareth Hughes at the submission guide launch today

Green MP Gareth Hughes at the submission guide launch today

You can read more about the submission guide here, and see what Forest and Bird have to say as well.

I realise that this may seem to be the only thing that I’m doing lately, which is not true, but I’m just not blogging here about other stuff I’m involved in.

So, moving right along, this week’s lineup is:
Labour MP Phil Goff, Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira, and National MP Michael Woodhouse.
Details here.

Could be worth attending for the fireworks.
TV7 is still likely to be closing down mid-year, so if you’ve ever enjoyed participating in the circus that is live filming of pub politics, come down.

Update:
I once again failed to make it along, but there was certainly a good crowd handy, have a look here. Phil Goff got a minor ragging from Wallace for his first appearance ever on the show (not ever having been a Back Bencher while the show has been recording before now) and both Hone Harawira and Michael Woodhouse had strong showings.

Otherwise, my lovely green friends, you will have to suffice yourselves with Pints’n’Politics, the latest brainchild of the local branch worthies, who fancy sitting and talking about politics without the intrusion of floor managers, cameras, Damian or Wallace.

There was a trial run at the Southern Cross in Te Aro CBD a while back, and it’s being mooted as a ‘first-of-the-month’ travelling circus, so that the day of the week varies each month to capture all those people who are busy every Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday, etc and won’t commit to another regular event.

Kick-off is Sunday April 1st, prolly around 3pm, and venue still being disputed, I mean discussed. I’ll keep you posted about how that turns out, and provide details if the decision comes down that it is to be widely promoted. *sigh*

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