Weapons of Mass-Surveillance


Once upon a time a little country in the South Pacific outpost of a great empire woke up and started to have a discussion about it’s place in the world. This was a serious discussion and became part of the national folklore when we all watched our leader at the Oxford Student Union debate with pride. The discussion was about the question if we wanted to be part of an imperial system sustained by (nuclear) weapons of mass-destruction. Later these categories of weapons as a pretext to the Iraq war became an odious term justifying  the invasion of a sovereign country and the killing of hundreds of thousands of people combatants and civilians women and children alike.

That discussion and decision for independence supported by a vast majority of the citizens together with the decision not to join the before mentioned war of aggression was probably the proudest moment in New Zealand’s history.

That was then. This is now.

30 years later we are engaged as an active partner in the deployment of weapons of mass surveillance. That is what the documents, which have become declassified public knowledge thanks to Edward Snowden are showing us.

Only the most gullible people worshipping any authority and believing every single word our masters in government say believe that this has anything to do with “keeping us safe from terrorists”.


Make no mistakes New Zealand is part of an Anglo/US cyber war waged against the rest of the world. This goes beyond the mass collection of all data the five eyes secret services can lay their hands on.
The now public documents show that our GCSB actively attacked communication systems of government officials of another Pacific nation.
The documents also show that the GCSB abused its powers to support the bid of one senior National Party cabinet minister to become head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by spying on all other candidates.
And wait there will be more. Nicky Hager recently told the radio station bFM that “in some respects we’re only just at the beginning of what people are going to find out”. Click for more.

However the cyber war goes much further like breaking into the computer system of one of the world’s leading manufactures of mobile phone sim-cards to steal the encryption  key, which protects the privacy of millions of mobile phone user around the world.

And we all remember the attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities via the Stuxnet computer virus, which Vanity Fair describes in a lengthy article aptly titled “A Declaration of Cyber-War“. It destroyed the manufacturing facility for aluminum tubes used for the enrichment of Uranium and was carried out by the NSA our senior five eyes “club” member.

The “club” really is an Empire as Chris Trotter correctly points out :
When we consider the extent to which these powers dominate the world’s key resources – especially oil, coal and iron-ore; when we add up the number of nations that, in one way or another, are beholden to them; when we recall that the US Dollar remains the world’s fiat currency; and when the five Anglo-Saxon nations’ ability to project decisive military resources to any point on the Earth’s surface is taken into account; are we not justified in discarding the word “club” and replacing it with the much more appropriate “empire”?
And yet, the behaviour of the five Anglo-Saxon powers, in the 70 years since the end of World War II, is difficult to characterise as anything other than imperialistic. If the “club” looks like an empire, speaks like an empire, and acts like an empire, then, chances are, it’s an empire.

All this is going on in secret, in our name, at our expense but without us having the right to even know about it.


And here lies the difference. Then we debated the issues and policies and made a decision as citizens.

Now we are treated as children who are not even allowed to know what’s going on.

Every time Mr Key, the minister responsible for our secret services denies us the right to know  what – even in general terms on the policy level – is going on he takes another piece of our democratic rights away and a another step towards a more authoritarian system.

Chris Trotter is absolutely correct with his blog title “Empire Games: How Nicky Hager’s Revelations Are Re-Shaping The Nationhood Debate.”
The debate about New Zealand’s involvement in the Five Eyes alliance is, accordingly, being broadened out to embrace the much more vital questions of who we are and whom we should serve. Will New Zealand continue striving to become an independent South Pacific nation, or will it opt to remain a far-flung, but intensely loyal, province of the Anglo-Saxon Empire?

Unfortunately we the children of New Zealand are not allowed to have this debate.
Our democratically elected yet authoritarian leader does not engage, does not answers questions – be it for example about “trade” agreements negotiated in our name or the legal status of our soldiers to be send to Iraq – and hides behind the secrecy of the “secret” services. This proven habitual professional liar has the audacity to ask of us: “Trust me I know what I am doing”.

Instead we are distracted and fobbed off with a referendum about our flag.

I have a suggestion how this could be made much cheaper and actually meaningful by giving the Children of New Zealand just the two obvious choices. This familiar one


or this with a realistic ring to it


Only if we the Children of New Zealand choose the second option we should stay in the club as part of the US Empire. Otherwise we should leave the five eyes network and resist the use of weapons of mass surveillance as we did/do so proudly with weapons of mass destruction.

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in Media Grabs, politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NZ Government aping Sarah Palin: Drill baby, drill !!


As the NZ Herald reports the government is offering about 430 thousand square kilometers mostly offshore for tender to the petroleum summit held in Auckland this week. See more details of the offer here.

The Conference attracted protests.  Petroleum Exploration and Production Association chief executive Cameron Madgwick responded by saying that he respected the right of opponents of the industry to protest and it still had to work to engage with the communities it operated in, but he wanted to encourage a “mature conversation” about New Zealand’s energy future.

So lets have a bit of a mature conversation and not just corporate spin and political bullshit as in Simon Bridges saying “I think the protestors have a real point. We should be excited about the renewable possibilities or as I call it the renewable advantage that we have – it is immense” while at the same time promoting and subsedising the fossil fuel industry.

Naomi Klein‘s latest book This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs The Climate

Klein, This...__n

spawned a new campaign or even movement lead by the Guardian in the UK called : Keep it in the Ground.

Climate scientists tell us the simple and crucial fact that there is far more carbon in existing fossil fuel reserves than we can safely burn. The numbers even taken with a grain of salt tell us the following. Limiting global warming to the agreed global target of 2C means staying within a ‘carbon budget’ of 565 GT (gigatonnes or billion tonnes). That is a fifth of the 2,795 GT that would be released if all the world’s proven oil, coal and gas reserves were burned. Therefore four-fifths of the fossil fuel must stay in the ground. For more details see Duncan Clark in his article in the Guardian “How much of the world’s fossil fuel can we burn?”

In other words the fossil fuel companies have already according to these figures five times as many reserves on their balance sheets than they should be allowed to burn. Even if the figure might be only three times or double of the amount, which can safely be extracted, the last thing the fossil fuel industry needs is more reserves. If the companies would be honest with their shareholders and the stock exchange they would have to advise of the necessary write-downs of the reserves in their balance sheets.

Of course the fossil fuel industry are putting their heads in the sand and effectively sabotaging all efforts to curb CO2 emissions. They stand accused by former top UK climate diplomat of cynically blocking action on climate change by  being ‘narcissistic, paranoid and psychopathic’ and being unable to contemplate low-carbon future. (Read more here)

There is a parallel campaign going to divest from fossil fuel companies. One example is the call of Anglican bishops urging fossil fuel divestment.

fossil fuel divestment

This is not only an ethical stance but makes perfect business sense as the value of their investment will go down as soon as the adjustments to the balance sheets will be made. The Rockefellers who know a bit about the oil industry having made their fortune in it are now divesting from fossil fuels. They call it their moral duty to divest from fossil fuels.

If the New Zealand government would pull their heads out of the sand they would see that they are not only backing a sunset industry but an immoral business model.
But true to its immoral form they instead ignore the science

climate hoax

and are aping that most infamous far right tea party darling and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s contribution to the fossil fuel /climate change debate :

Drill baby, drill !!! 

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in Economics, Environment, Media Grabs, politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s just not Cricket: New Zealand caught underarm bowling

The Edward Snowden files show the Government playing dirty in international politics. The Prime Minister tries – and it is painful to watch – to dismiss the revelations by calling the messengers “just an anti-American bunch of plonkers”. However this is a serious blow to New Zealand’s image as Fran O’Sullivan writes in the NZ Herald. The last thing she could be accused off is being an anti-American plonker.

“Neither John Key nor Groser has denied that the Government’s intelligence gathering on the Trade Minister’s behalf had been escalated to include electronic intelligence gathering.”
In a world where these activities are usually cloaked with plausible deniability, the Edward Snowden revelations haven’t gone down well elsewhere.”
“The notion that New Zealand – a member of the “Anglo-Saxon” camp – had employed the US secret service (this is how it is being written up in San Paulo) to try and foil the Latin American emerging countries bloc from achieving its rightful elevation in geo-trade relationships will take a while to settle.”

This is where John Key’s design idea for a new New Zealand flag comes in :



This design – even if correctly showing New Zealand’s position in the world – will not go down well south of the Rio Grande.

New Zealand just last year gained a two year seat on the all powerful UN Security Council. It promoted itself successfully as an honest broker and independent voice for other small countries. This is now shown to be a lie. If this part of the files would have been released earlier it would have blown New Zealand’s cover. It is safe to say that New Zealand as the South Pacific cog in the US imperial global spying machine would never have been elected to the council.

The international community despite all the diplomatic niceties is not as easily fobbed off as large parts of the New Zealand public being told that we have no right to know and therefore the spies and their masters never comment.

New Zealand’s international reputation as ‘an honest broker and independent voice for other small countries prepared to stand up to a powerful empire’ is largely built on two achievements (both by recent Labour Prime Ministers) the anti-nuclear policy of the 1980-ies and the refusal to join the Bush II war of aggression against Iraq in 2003. Our good name is now sorely destroyed by the spying machinations of this government and deservedly so.

The latest spying revelations have shown that we spy wholesale on our small vulnerable Pacific neighbours, are part of spying operations against all Latin American countries and used our worldwide five eyes spying capabilities to further a job application of our trade minister, all activities directed against neighbours, friends and trading partners not any enemies.

Since when is wholesale spying against neighbours, friends and partners ethically acceptable ? Where is the moral outrage ?

Instead the mainstream media have been sidetracked by the question if it was ‘legal’, which always leaves plenty of room for debate.

Remember the cricket ? Did anybody then say : No worries it is legal ?


Will we in future internationally be seen as liars, cheaters and absolute scum? 

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in Media Grabs, politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How long will John Key succeed with his contempt for voters ?

It does not stop to amaze me how John Key and the National Party treat voters in Northland and the general public in New Zealand with contempt. They must assume that we are not only stupid but the enemy and they might be right on both accounts.

Here are just a few examples of what is happening and how we are taken for idiots.

After dismissing Winston Peters, the only serious opposition contender in the Northland by-election, as having zero chance the first opinion polls came as a shock to Mr Key. Out comes the pork barrel starting with a “policy” – without proper costing and advice from officials – to upgrade 10 one-lane-bridges, 7 of which were not even on the council’s to-do-list.


Yeah Right

Another fine example of what people think of the “policy” is the photo of one bridge displaying the National Party’s full front bench.


The blatant attempt to bribe Northland voters with their taxpayer’s money is so brazen that it beggars belief.

Another example of the contempt shown by Mr Key is the fact that Northland voters are not allowed to know why their previous MP Mike Sabin had to resign only 4 months after the general election and that the National Party and Mr Key knew all about it well before he was even nominated.
This of course has the effect to feed the rumor mill around Northland and all over the internet.


I said before that New Zealanders will be shocked, disgusted and angry when the truth finally comes out. Mr Key/National don’t care as long as it is after the election.

It is Dirty Politics before an election all over again. Last time Mr Key on advice of his spin doctors and pollsters dismissed the whole story as a left-wing conspiracy without ever faulting any of the facts disclosed. How will they spin it this time when the crime is revealed ?

This brings me to more general examples of the Prime Minister treating all New Zealanders with contempt and basically as the ‘enemy’ of the government.

I come from a country, which twice in recent history suffered two totalitarian regimes held up by surveillance (Gestapo and Stasi) of their own people. I cannot comprehend how disinterested and dismissive many people are about allowing our secret service to built the tools of a totalitarian state those criminal regimes could only have dreamed of.

It blew my mind when I listened and re-listened to Mr Key on Radio NZ morning report boldly stating that New Zealanders have no right to know whether their e-mails, text massages, phone calls, their personal data…. is being gathered up by a state intelligence agency.
This incredible statement shows total contempt for the people and is the result of New Zealand being one of only three countries in the world without the protection of a written constitution.
The excuse always is that security and spying by their nature have to be secret. Under this mantel of secrecy the agency can do what they like without any effective legal or democratic oversight or control. Of course our enemies must not know that they are spied on. However I never knew that New Zealand had any enemies. It seems that we have to make some by sending troops to fight foreign wars and being “part of the spying club.”  But if we the citizens are not allowed to know what happens to us and our data that means we are treated as the enemy.


Of course we are not only denied to know but actively lied to by the heads of the spy agencies and the Prime Minister responsible who are all professional liars.

‘Read my fingers – there is no mass surveillance’

The NZ Herald  published an analysis about the Snowden revelations ending with the questions :
Can we tell the public what the British public now know to be true about their own security agencies?
And if not, why?

The standard broken record answer by the spy agencies and the Prime Minister (we don’t comment on security matters) becomes more and more laughable. It only shows their total contempt for our democracy.

Another valid question by former media darling now persona-non-grata, Kim Dotcom :
What’s worse?
The lies
The cover-up
The deception
The manipulation
The broken promises
The realization of it all

The last example of how New Zealanders are treated as children by this know-best-nanny-state government is the secrecy surrounding the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).


A parallel agreement is negotiated between the US and EU at present. The EU under pressure to treat their member states and citizens as adults have pledged to make the drafts public and reject the most dangerous investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause. But not this Key government.


John Key has so far got away with treating New Zealand with contempt. His constituency is “the overwhelmingly male, determinedly anti-intellectual, painfully inarticulate, …. moronic and sports-mad portion of the New Zealand population” (Chris Trotter) who don’t know and who don’t want to know.

The questions remain :

Will the ‘John’s mob’ ever wake up ?

How long will John (Teflon) Key succeed with his contempt for voters ?

Will Northland signal the end of his ‘spell’ ?

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber





Posted in Media Grabs, politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel elections – a sad and shameful day

Israel has been at war against the Palestinians and other Arab neighbours ever since WWII even before the conception of it’s state. Periods of fully blown hostilities and atrocities followed low grade tensions and attacks and so on. The last full outbreak was the 2014 Gaza war. Israel is a nuclear power – the only one not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – illegally occupying Palestinian and other land. It holds almost a million Palestinians in what observers describe as a huge internment camp (Gaza) and commits daily human rights abuses against the rest living in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians fight back with rocks, slingshots, home made rockets and soon by taking Israel to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. For this Israel is already illegally withholding US 120 million owed to the Palestinian authority.

After decades of these – obviously failed – policies and even after building a Berlin style wall Israel is still not safe.

Over the last few weeks it looked as if Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heading for a defeat at the general election. We were told that not “security” but the economy like rising prices and lack of housing had become the deciding  issues.

The World Post/Huffington Post reports :
The (opposition) Zionist Union’s focus on socio-economic issues, including the lack of housing and the high cost of living in Israel, appeared to be generating much more momentum.
During much of the campaign, Netanyahu had focused on security issues and the threat from Iran’s nuclear program, a message that appeared to gain little traction with voters.
In a pre-election blitz, Netanyahu made a series of promises designed to shore up his Likud base and draw voters from other right-wing and nationalist parties. He pledged to go on building settlements on occupied land and said there would be no Palestinian state if he was re-elected.

We now know the result. Netanyahu’s tactics won the day.

This means the effective end of any hope for peace between Palestine and Israel. Instead Israelis voted for a continuation of the 70 year old war.



Where was it that people forgot about their welfare and given a (mock) choice chose war? Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels comes to mind asking the hyped up crowd in the infamous Berliner Sportspalast speech in 1943: “Wollt Ihr Butter oder Kanonen?” (Do you want butter or cannons?)
We know the response of that crowd. They wanted cannons and “total war”.  We know the end of the total war. Millions more victims of that criminal regime.


It is always tragic to see the victims of unspeakable crimes later become the perpetrators. When will this often observed cycle of crime (think child abuse), which seems to be true not only for individuals but whole people and countries, be broken ?

One can of course not compare the Berliner Sportpalast of 1943 with Israel elections of 2015. There is not really a clean cut choice between material welfare and continuing war (“security”). The cannons in this case are supplied by the US free of charge anyway. We also know the long established tactic to scare people to win votes. And after all this is the result of a democratic election after a not unusual campaign.
I am sorry that I still cannot get the haunting image of the Berliner Sportpalast crowd out of my head.

If it is correct that Israel returned Benjamin Netanyahu to power because he pledged to continue to deny millions of Palestinians their basic human rights then this marks a sad day for peace in the Middle East and a shameful day for Israel.

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in politics, Society | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

100 years after Gallipoli New Zealand’s ‘freedom and democracy’ will be decided in Northland

100 ago New Zealanders fought at Gallipoli for ‘freedom and democracy’ so we are told. Now our freedom and democracy hang in the balance depending on the result of the Northland by-election.

Stuff reports that
John Key is warning voters there is no “free lunch” in the Northland by-election, as National claims major roads and free-trade deals will be in doubt if Winston Peters wins.

For 50 years your vote in Northland never counted for anything as the default position was firmly set on “National”. If you voted for them or not the result was already determined. Now for the first time Northland voters will not only decide who will represent them in Parliament but if our Prime Minister will be able to sell our freedom and democracy to international corporations.   This is exactly what would happen through the so called “free-trade deals”, which according to Mr Key will be in doubt if Winston Peters wins.

Let us remind ourselves what is happening with these so called “free-trade” agreements.

First of all the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is drafted by Hollywood, big agribusiness, big pharma, big tobacco and other international corporations. It is presently negotiated in secrecy with only governments and corporations around the table. The rest of us what is called civil society be it unions, environmental – consumer – internet user – human rights – medical and other professional organisations are kept in the dark.


Second the agreement has very little to do with trade, which only serves as a smokescreen. The core is about intellectual property and investment. Any trade access improvement for instance for our baby formula are either non- existent or negligible.

An example of what big business is gaining with a stroke of a pen is the extension of intellectual property rights, which will add billions of dollars to their balance sheets at the cost of New Zealand consumers and patients.

The biggest threat to New Zealand however is that the Prime Ministers intends to sell our sovereignty to the international corporations via the so called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which is part of the TPPA. This means that corporations can sue states in Kangaroo court like tribunals manned not by judges but corporate lawyers. If New Zealand enacts laws or regulations, which might affect the corporation’s bottom line like laws against child labour, setting of minimum wages, environmental, health or consumer protection legislation we will be sued for billions of dollars. This means we loose our democracy and sovereignty and are no longer free to run our country in our interest but have  to obey foreign corporations.

To understand more and get proof that these so called “trade” deals are bad for you I refer to my previous blog post Big money in politics – final proof that TPP is bad for you posted on November 11, 2014. I also refer you to Noam Chomsky who called these trade deals A ‘Neoliberal Assault’ To Further Corporate ‘Domination’ .

As so much is at stake Mr Key and the National Party are resorting to their usual tricks.

The all of a sudden they promise to spend 70 million dollars of your money on Northland roads however “in doubt if Winston Peters wins“.



This is not only an outrageous bribe but amounts to political blackmail. The country holds its breath to find out how Northland voters will react to that.



We can only hope that it will be a bridge to far.

All this has come about because the newly re-elected local MP had to resign for “personal reason”. These reasons, which were well known to the National Party hierarchy, will shock you when they finally cannot be any longer hidden from us. So far they have managed to keep the Northland voters in the dark till after the by-election. That this man under police investigation for quite some time got selected and re-selected and made chair of the parliamentary Law And Order Committee by the National Party will shock even National Party members who so far dismissed all the evidence of Dirty Politics.

In 1915 traitors selling our freedom and democracy would have been shot. 100 years later the only hope is that they are no longer elected to Parliament. Otherwise our Gallipoli heroes will have died in vain.

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in politics, Society | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Do we want to live in a free society or in a Stasi style surveillance state ?

Call me naive but I am disappointed that the latest spying revelations hardly raised an eyebrow in so many people.


All our communication be it via the internet, mobile phones, use of credit or other plastic cards and any other digital devices is collected by the five eyes security network stored in the US to later potentially be used against anyone of us who rightly or wrongly comes to the attention of the authorities.
This is espionage against all citizens on an industrial scale Hitler, Stalin, the Stasi and any other dictatorships of the past would only have dreamed of. It should cause outrage in a western civilised democracy.
Instead the mainstream media, most of the politicians and the commentariat are mainly engaged in distractions. Like the question of the “legality” of the spy agency’s actions when they hoover up all communication in the Pacific including that of all New Zealanders. Or the question if it circumvents our law when all the collected data are passed on to the US where our agency can access them in case they are interested. Or the fact that we willingly give up privacy by using social media on the internet, join loyalty schemes at the local supermarket or give heaps of private information to our credit card companies.

The central philosophical  questions, which motivated the whistle blower to take action and reveal all this information are not addressed:

Do we want to live in a society where the government knows everything about us our actions, transactions, thoughts, interests, history, secrets, loves, hates, sexual preferences the lot if we ever dared to communicate them ? Do we want to give our government the complete tool kit of a an authoritarian dictatorial surveillance regime ? In other words do we want to live in a society where our government has total control over us ?

Or do we value free speech and information and expect and respect privacy even if we might belong to the saintly 0.1 % who have ‘nothing to hide’ ? After all Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights ? We wouldn’t want to give that up lightly.

The fact of mass surveillance – so far admitted in the case of the South Pacific but denied for New Zealand – boils down to one question: Do we want to live in a free society or not ?

And the reaction we see in the mainstream media is greatly inadequate or even collusive and consequently in the general public there is only a great yawn. The “nothing to hide” and “who is interested in me” crowd.

And the irony is that the spooks methods and increased powers don’t actually work. The often given example for the need of extra powers is the Boston Marathon attack,which is a classical example that mass surveillance does not work. Big brother is just building and increasing his empire and needs to package it’s desire for us to acquiesce.


I saw “Citizenfour” this week, the award winning documentary about the NSA spying on everyone as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.


Before I entered the theatre I noticed a few things. First I did not see any advertising of the fact that the documentary just won the BAFTA and Oscar awards. Normally the fact of just a nomination is heavily promoted. When I talked to the person at the box office enquiring how the film was doing and if the attendance had picked up after the Oscars the person didn’t even know that it won. Then I remembered that on Oscar night the documentary winner was not mentioned on New Zealand television news either even if there was extensive coverage of the event concentrating instead on the best/worst dressed. The same in the papers the next day. I actually had to google the result for best documentary. The cynic in me joined the dots and it looked as if “Citizenfour” was hidden from the New Zealand public as much as possible. Call me a conspiracy theorist.


I am not a film critic and leave that to the people who awarded the film this year’s BAFTA and Oscar for best documentary. What I however was most impressed with was the outstanding ethical and moral quality this extraordinary young man has displayed through everything he has done.
His motive was to inform us about the secret, illegal and unconstitutional – not in New Zealand of course as we are one of only three countries without a written constitution – practices of mass surveillance of all citizens. He did not take his treasure trove of information to “the enemy” or sell it on the open market. He did not dump it on the internet or keep it. He left it with top journalists who later won the Pulitzer Price for their reporting to publish the material responsibly without putting secret service agents in danger.

He did not seek publicity and fame for himself as this would detract from the issue. However he did not hide in the shadows as he feels good about the fact that he has done the right thing. He knowingly took the personal risk of life imprisonment or even death at the hands of the “biggest terrorist state” on the planet (Noam Chomsky) for his believe in the fundamental human values of the right to privacy, freedom of information and free speech.

Contrast this highest moral standard with that of our Prime Minister John Key.



Toby Manhire in the NZ Herald summed him up brilliantly :

“I don’t know what’s coming but I know that what’s coming is wrong, and it’s outdated, and it’s made up, but even if it isn’t wrong and outdated and made up, which it is, it’s based on stolen materials and in any case it’s absolutely the right thing to do and, of course, we do it because, at the end of the day, terrorism!”
“There is something breathtaking about the Prime Minister’s scattergun pre-emptive denunciations. On Wednesday he popped on his wizard’s hat, stared into the future, and categorically dismissed the story which appeared in the Herald the following day. Not for him the decorous classic “the Government never comments on specific intelligence matters”. No, John Key could “guarantee you it will be wrong”, he said with a wave of the prime ministerial wand.”

This is the Prime Minister who has elevated lying and deception and dirty politics in general to a new art form.

Only a couple of years back people were stunned to watch the now least flavored German accusing Mr Key in Parliament in front of rolling cameras of lying. “Why did you face turn red, Prime Minister?” And an opinion poll showed that more people believed the German than the Prime Minister. These days every new lie triggers the same reaction. The Prime Minister caught lying, yawn. The GCSB spying on us, yawn. Tell us something new.

One example in this context is the Prime Minister’s statement that he would resign if there was mass surveillance/data collection of New Zealanders by the spy agency under his watch. Of course he doesn’t mean it. He didn’t say if I find out I will stop it. His statement is just another form of denial that it is happening. See I am still here so it can’t be happening otherwise I wouldn’t be here anymore.
And the (Teflon) Prime Minister knows that he can get away with it because his pollster tells him that to many people are not interested. He doesn’t care about the damage to our political culture and that he is widely held in contempt.


Which still leave us with the crucial question to answer :

Do we want to live in a free society or in a Stasi style surveillance state ?

If we don’t defend our privacy and freedom and are eternally vigilant we will lose them. Don’t say you haven’t be warned. In this case by someone who comes from a country, which went through the experience twice (Gestapo & Stasi) in recent history.

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who lacks guts and why do balls matter ?

When I first arrived in New Zealand over 30 years ago I was surprised to find a cenotaph in every little settlement and war memorial halls large and small all over the place. Coming from a country, which suffered much more horrific loss of lives in two world wars of not only soldiers but civilians numbering millions. I was not used to this sort of what seemed to me glorification of death.
The tens of thousands of women, children, the old and frail who burned to death in the allied bombing raids on Dresden just before the end of WWII did not – in the German language and thinking – commit the “ultimate sacrifice”. The millions of soldiers suffering terrible deaths mostly crying out for their mothers in their last moments of agony were not collectively labeled and worshipped as “heroes”.

One of the differences of course is that we won and Germany lost. Another is the fact that New Zealanders never experienced the effects of war other then the soldiers actually going overseas and going through the horrors of war on foreign soil and if they were lucky to return hardly ever talking about it.
This lack of first hand knowledge and experience created the perfect breeding ground for the myths and legends sawn and nurtured by the ANZAC poppy industry. A masterstroke of PR or more precisely propaganda turning one of the greatest military fuck-ups and defeats into something to be celebrated and aspired too by the young who don’t know better.

One who should but doesn’t know better is our Prime Minister, who floated the idea that for New Zealand’s latest military adventure in the Middle East our and Australia’s troops could appear under an “ANZAC badge” in reference to that great military disaster of 100 years ago. Thinking about it this might be even appropriate but not as Mr Key believes.

Amrecan sniper

Which brings me to another surprise discovery when visiting war memorials.
I was brought up under the US/British re-education regime in post war Germany. I was told that militarism was bad especially the disciplined and efficient Prussian kind and militarism had to be purged from the German mind as so many European countries had suffered under the German jackboot. I believed that it was Germany, which was the greatest warmonger of all nations having started one war of aggression (WWII) and been punished for it.
Coming here I learned that New Zealand since 1900 fought at least 9 wars all putting our jackboot on foreign soil (South Africa, WWI, WWII, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bush senior’s-Gulf WarI, Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia) compared to Germany’s just 3 (WWI, WWII and the former Yugoslavia).
New Zealand seems to have an itch to join any jolly war going as long as they can impress the “club” (the five eyes nations lead by the US) or “family” (the old British Empire) even if the conflict has nothing to do with us. New Zealand even offered a frigate to join the Malvinas/Falkland war but Margret Thatcher luckily said no thanks.

This is a sad history given that New Zealand is not situated in the middle of a conflict zone but far removed at the – one would think most peaceful – end of the world. One can only speculate what might be behind this default position we are stuck in. Michael J. Savage famous words declaring war on Germany referring to the motherland: “Where she goes we go!” still seems to hold true. No rational reasons for going to war needed.

In this tradition last week Prime Minister John Key did not have to give good reasons. These were all against spending another 60 million, risking Kiwi soldiers lives and drawing unwanted attention to this far flung corner of the planet jumping up and down in the face of radicalised Muslims shouting: Don’t forget us planning your next attacks. We are your enemy too.

But sadly reason does not come into it. It seems to only be a question of ‘guts‘. John Key clearly doesn’t have it as he would not send his son into harms way.
And please spare us the often regurgitated cliche of the hardest decision a government has to make to send our soldiers into harms way and taking a moral stand and doing “the right thing” or being on the right side sounding very much like George W Bush: “You are either with us or with the terrorists”.
The simple fact is that Key succumbed to the pressure from the US and UK to pay his membership fees for belonging to the “club” and being part of the “family”. He would not risk his next game of golf with Mr. Obama. He didn’t have the guts to withstand the pressure and expectation even if that meant acting against the best interests of New Zealand.

This is only a gesture and a cheap one too. The real price for being in the club is going to be paid by accepting  the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) at the moment secretly negotiated by corporations and governments without any input from civil society.

But back to the not so small matter of war.

Looking back Helen Clark will be remembered as the first and so far only Prime Minister in our entire history who had the balls not to go ‘where she goes’. The 2003 Bush junior Iraq war proved to be an unmitigated disaster built on lies. Looking at New Zealand’s sad history of going to war so easily I always have regarded it as Hellen Clark’s greatest achievement to have kept us out of it.

Now Mr Key makes an unilateral decisions for us and in our name without seeking the approval of Parliament because he wouldn’t have a majority for another war.


This example of gutlessness not to stand up to the bullies Helen Clark stood up to in 2003 does not bear well for the by far more important issue of the TPPA being forced down our throats.
If our current Prime Minister doesn’t stand up to our so called friends the US and UK what hope is there against even bigger bullies: the all powerful international corporations.

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in politics, Society | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is wrong with us ? Are we morally bankrupt ?

By Middle Eastern standards we would on the harsh punishment scale rank between Islamic State (ISIS) and Saudi Arabia.


Why is it that the David Bain saga Saga brings out the worst in us ?

Let’s briefly remind ourselves of events over twenty years back. One day in 1994 young David Bain went on his early morning paper run to find on his return all his family shot dead by the Bain .22 calibre rifle. He made the 111 call and we later heard his distraught voice. A few day later he was arrested for the murder of his family. It all made no sense. We were told by the prosecution that they did not need any motive, which might be legally correct but of course is totally ridiculous. Just watch any detective story or murder trial and motive is the first thing the police is looking for and presenting to the jury.

Finally after 13 years in prison the Privy Council squashed the conviction because of a miscarriage of justice. In a retrial he was duly acquitted. And here the matter would have rested at least in a civilised country where the state cannot make the mistake to imprison you for 13 years and just say Oops, tough luck if you can’t “prove” your innocence.

And here lies the craziness of the New Zealand criminal “justice” system. We have the presumption of innocence as long as you don’t expect to be compensated for wrongful imprisonment. Then all of a sudden the presumption is that you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence. According to the rules of logic it is actually impossible to prove a negative as in this case. He was there, he found the bodies and made the call. It is possible that he did it. How can he “prove” the negative that he didn’t ?
To find a way out of this conundrum the system lowered the burden of proof to that of “on balance of probability”, which means that it is more likely that you did not do it.
However this is not much help to the Bain team. In his case he would need to “prove” that his father Robin did it and then committed suicide with the same rifle. How can he possibly do that after 21 years.
An amateur detective recently pointed to obviously overlooked police photographs showing distinct marks on Robin’s fingers, which pointed to him using the rifle. This evidence, which to me as a frequent user of a .22 rifle appeared pretty convincing, was immediately dismissed by a very defensive police. They do not seem to accept the acquittal and are hell bend in trying to hold on to the initial miscarriage of justice.

The Prime Minister is quoted as saying  “To get compensation, the Bain team has … to basically prove Robin [Bain, David Bain’s father] did it and then has to provide exceptional circumstances.” After finding your whole family murdered, been arrested totally traumatised and put into prison for 13 years for a heinous crime you did not commit what more exceptional circumstances is Mr Key thinking of ?

But why do you have to prove anything ? Isn’t it for the prosecution to prove their case. If they fail to make it stick why should you suffer the consequences by not only having 13 years of your young life taken from you but not getting a cent compensation for it ? This is a really nasty twisted logic and morally bankrupt attitude to what is fair and just.

In the country where I practiced criminal law after an acquittal you get compensation for any imprisonment as a matter of course. The law sets the minimum amount per day – you can get more if you can prove that you suffered a greater financial loss – and a judicial clerk just adds up the days and signs the cheque. And everybody accepts that that is not only the law but fair and just. Anything else would be outrageous to every fair minded person.

And this outrageous situation is part of the New Zealand’s “justice” system.

And in the Bain case it only goes downhill from there.

The then justice minister didn’t like the recommendation of an eminent senior judge from overseas and got the New Zealand ex (porn) Justice to write a review, which was later described by the Canadian judge as “very partisan (not ‘peer’)“.
From now on every step by the government is tainted as the overseas judge rightly points out.  “The problem now is that the Government has made it loud and clear what answer it wants and anybody taking on the assignment would see what happened to me for giving an answer that the Government didn’t want.
From 10,000 miles away, it looks like a familiar pattern lawyers encounter. It’s not uncommon among clients to keep going through lawyers until they find someone who agrees with them.”
University of Canterbury’s dean of Law agrees with the eminent judge. A previous victim of not only a wrongful conviction but police corruption Arthur Allan Thomas

A A Thomas

who spend a similar time in prison before being pardoned and compensated said :
It should have been settled long ago. They need to stop mucking around and compensate him, end of story.”

The present Justice Minister is quoted as saying “We’re not satisfied in terms of what’s in front of us now, and in our view the only sensible way forward to make a decision that’s defendable, either to the public or Mr Bain, is to seek a new inquiry.” Why is there any decision to be made ? The jury has done it at the end of the retrial. Why does any decision needs to be “defendable” to the public ?

And the problem is with the New Zealand public. A glimpse at the commentariat and the letter pages shows a very divided public. Part of which are still not and will never be convinced of David Bain’s innocence and want the case re-litigated. A recent text poll of the current affairs TV program Campbell Live had 38% saying No to compensation.
It is of course true that there remains the possibility that David Bain is guilty. However the logically undeniable “possibility” is the same as “suspicion”. We do not punish people or deny them compensation just on suspicion.

Civilised countries governed by the rule of law accept ten wrongful acquittals – the system is after all human and therefore fallible –  rather than one wrongful conviction. There is nothing worse imaginable than languishing in prison for a crime you have not committed (thank God for having got rid of the death penalty). That is what ‘presumption of innocence’ and ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ are all about to rather let guilty people walk free before you put one innocent person in jail.

Many New Zealanders seem to rather tolerate ten wrongful convictions than one wrongful acquittals (and compensation).

This seems to be part of the punitive attitude of the New Zealand society. We are after all the country with the second highest incarceration rate of all Western civilised countries by a big margin just behind the USA. By Middle Eastern standards we would on the harsh punishment scale rank between Islamic State (ISIS) and Saudi Arabia.

Is that really the place where New Zealand wants to be ?

by Dr. Hans B. Grueber

Posted in Media Grabs, politics, Society | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Greens must be doing the right “dirty deal”

If David Farrar in his Kiwiblog accuses the Greens of a dirty deal in Northland then they must be doing something right.

The cause of Mr Farrar’s concern is the announcement of the Greens that “It is our strategic assessment that we should not run in the by-election and instead focus on our nationwide climate change and inequality campaigns.”

It beggars belief that Farrar – one of the cabal of the National Party’s Dirty Politics – has the audacity to accuse the Greens of


National Party tricks. Has he forgotten Ohariu-Belmont and Epsom just 6 months ago ?

This clearly demonstrates not only the double standard of the “Right” but also the weakness of the “Left” of politics.
In over 50 years of observing and participating in politics I have again and again found the weakness of the “Left” arguing among themselves on points of principle Socialists vs Communists vs Marxist vs Stalinists vs Leninists vs Trotskyists vs Maoists and the list goes on. While the “Right” with no ballast of principle keeps the eye on the ball, which is power at all costs including dirty politics.

Mr Farrar does not mention that the National Party dirty politics lead us into this mess where the tax-payer has to spend a million dollars plus on a by-election just 6 months after a general election.
What we do know is that ex-MP Mike Sabin


has been under police investigation well before the general election. The National Business Review reports what the Prime Minister calls “family reasons” is actually an assault complaint and the NBR understands the PM was first made aware of the assault complaint in April last year, months before the September 20 ballot – and that the National Party knew before the 2011 election.
Still Mr Sabin did not only got again selected for the safe National seat but after the election made chairman of Parliament’s Law and Order Select Committee overseeing the same police investigating him. Mr Sabin himself knew and accepted it.

This is really bad if even Rodney Hide gets agitated:
TV One has reported that police were investigating Sabin in August last year. It’s inconceivable to me that they would not have told their minister and the Prime Minister.
It’s especially important that they would do so with Sabin because he’s ex-police and on October 22 he was elected to chair the law and order select committee.
That’s the select committee that scrutinises police performance on Parliament’s behalf.
Hang on. According to One News the chairman was under police investigation. And the Prime Minister didn’t know?

True to form John Key denies any knowledge and again nobody believes him.
All that matters to him is that his pollster tells him that his target group “the overwhelmingly male, determinedly anti-intellectual, painfully inarticulate, culturally moronic and sports-mad portion of the New Zealand population” (Chris Trotter) don’t seem to care when he knew and the dirty dealing behind it. And accordingly he refuses to answer all burning questions.

Most interesting however is the fact that Farrar – the National Party pollster – gets so exited by the fact that the Greens are not fielding a candidate in Northland. He must know that National is in real trouble.
On the other hand we cannot expect Labour to be as smart as the Greens and give Winston a clear run. In that case according to normally well informed right wing commentator Matthew Hooton on National Radio’s nine-to-noon this week the National Party would loose the seat.
The end result would give more power to the jokers Seymour (Epsom) and Dunne (Ohariu-Belmont).
Would that be a good thing ?

by Dr. Hans b. Grueber

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment