Ah I see. The QC failed to ask the police inspector ‘the right question’ about ‘the right surveillance’. Riiiight.

From Top cop cleared over perjury accusation in Dotcom case (NZ Herald)

click to read at NZ Herald

click to read at NZ Herald

Honestly, I have two teenagers who wriggle in exactly the same way as this. Unless you ask them precisely the right questions — movable goalposts, to be sure — you may not get anywhere near “the truth”. Even then, they’re fully capable of rewriting history, airbrushing out the inconvenient bits. So …

I don’t know Grant Wormald, he seems like a nice man. But I saw video of his extremely uncomfortable squirming/withholding performance under cross examination when he didn’t really want to admit to the presence of members of “another government agency” at discussions about the Kim Dotcom raid. That “agency” turned out to be the GCSB and their involvement turned out to be illegal (oops!) … but it was no crime because they “didn’t mean to” break the law. No criminal intent.

Now this. “Oh, that pesky, intrusive, nit-picking lawyer – when he asked me about ‘surveillance’ I thought he was asking about visual surveillance, your honour, not the communications surveillance I was getting daily reports about from the GCSB about on the encrypted smartphone* they gave me so my communications with them weren’t … intercepted.” (paraphrase)

Good grief, they think we’re stupid.

– P

* Yeah apparently

Here’s a copy of the IPCA report (PDF 441KB)

Oh. A certain Food & Grocery Council member will be HATING this graphic.

Very effective imagery.

Click to view more at  'The Renegade Pharmacist'

Click to view more at ‘The Renegade Pharmacist’

Reminds me of Paris Hilton’s [attributed] reference to Diet Coke as ‘Fat People’s Coke’ because she observed so many fat people drinking it. Ouch.

I wonder if the sugary drink people are on the phone now to their attack dog Carrick Graham? Who will he smear next for truth (cough) justice (splutter) and the BAT way?

Read “Diet Coke Exposed: What Happens One Hour After Drinking Diet Coke, Coke Zero Or Any Other Similar Diet Soda” at the Renegade Pharmacist.

For balance, here’s a recent Food & Grocery Council missive, writing off those concerned about sugary drinks’ impact on obesity as “idealogically blinkered”– “Fizzy tax won’t solve NZ’s obesity problem” which contains this tortured logic:

In Australia there has already been a 10% tax on sugary drinks in the form of GST, but has that made any difference to consumption? No.

Oh dear.

– P

h/t NZ Herald

Is Colin Craig ‘defaming’ Cameron Slater and his commercial attack website?


Colin Craig’s self-published response to being the target of Cameron Slater’s probably commercially-driven smear campaign.

So, Colin Craig is pushing back against the protracted Dirty Politics-esque smear campaign that Cameron Slater and some of his muppets carried out against him, presumably on behalf of shadowy ‘clients’.

Slater Jnr may deny it (he is, after all a proven liar who “talks big up from nothing”),  or he may say his ‘clients’  were, like Mark Hotchin, “paying for the strategy, not paying for the [attack] posts” … or he may be doing it as a hobby. Right.

When Craig released this 12 page booklet (PDF 3MB) at a press conference on Friday I had thought the design was obviously intended for wider circulation — but the idea that it would be distributed as a commercial letterbox drop did not occur to me. Full marks for thinking big.

The booklet itself is worth a read. Some of it is more instantly plausible than other bits, but anyone familiar with Simon Lusk’s puppetry and use of his sleazy pet Slater Jnr to unfairly and histrionically smear targets for money would recognise plenty.

Jordan Williams in the Luigi Wewege ‘love rat’ role I found very easy to believe, possibly because of my previously expressed (negative) estimation of that low-rent young man’s morals and attitudes towards women. An “attack dossier” shown to people at secret private meetings accusing Colin Craig of sexual harassment sounds right up Jordan’s alley, if you’ll pardon the expression. But it might all be a misunderstanding, eh? I think I read a quote where Williams said he had nothing to fear from Colin Craig’s lawsuit. Hmm.

Is Colin Craig entitled to defend his reputation?

Some uncharitable people treat Colin Craig as if he has no right to be taken seriously just because he’s a fringe politician. Yeah, he’s a flake, with an awkward manner and some anachronistic attitudes, but I think he’s got the right to defend his reputation from attack — especially from such nasty, unbalanced vitriolic attacks — and a Hidden Agenda™.
Continue reading →

A sad, but pithy assessment of John Key by Rod Oram

I read Rod Oram’s Sunday Star-Times column last night, and, more in sadness than anything, found I have to agree  with his assessment:

Rod Oram on John Key

There’s a theory that John Key, Steven Joyce and Bill English have been cunningly carrying out a programme of ‘incremental radicalism’ — privatisations that aren’t portrayed as privatisations so as not to frighten the horses; determined efforts to progress a slow, steady dismantling of the welfare state.

For example, look at ‘state housing’ re-labelled as ‘social housing’ and run into the ground to create a justification for quitting them. National, the party of landlords, has never liked state housing.
So that’s the theory. But I’m not so sure. I tend to agree with the point Oram makes so eloquently — it’s worse than that:

The Key government is drifting, and the country with it.

It seems to me he’s right, too, about John Key’s salesman’s sensibility, and the colossal waste of his terrific communication skills and talent.

Of course, Barbecue John’s supporters will see that differently.* And, let’s face it, if you are convinced that the worst thing that could happen to the country is that your political opponents were to win an election, well, maybe it’s not such a waste.

Read Rod Oram’s Sunday Star-Times column ‘Key thinks he can sell cowshit to cockies‘. (Archived here.)

– P

* Rather predictably, Steven Joyce read Oram’s assessment as ‘showing’ his ‘colours’.  (Spoken like a true National Party campaign manager, eh?) Shallow debating tactics from Mr Joyce, but at least he got it off his chest. A few idiots will be fooled by his remarks.





Wow. The talented and likeable Morgan James

I’m really pleased to have stumbled across this performer, Morgan James. See if you enjoy watching her introduce herself in this feature below, as I did, so much …

The last few lines (and the last line in particular) declare such self-awareness, it gave me goosebumps. Here she proves it’s true …

HunterGood on her. I’ve just bought her album Hunter on iTunes.

Here’s a link to her youtube channel. See what you think of her cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene.
– P

PS You can’t argue with someone who loves Sade.

With sympathy for my friends at the NZ Herald


Subterfuge – a nice multi-syllable word for ‘lie’.

I said at the time (The twisted trail of the NZ Herald’s ‘statement from the editor’ re Ms Glucina) that Rachel Glucina’s shabby little smear job seemed intended to portray as “political” the café worker who exposed NZ Prime Minister John Key’s repeated harassment. That was Ms Glucina’s goal, it seemed to me — to take some of the heat off Mr Key. Smear the messenger.

Another of Mr Key’s loyal media friends, Mike Hosking, sprang to the PM’s defence, singing from Ms Glucina’s slippery-with-the-facts song sheet. His ‘Mike’s View’ segment on Seven Sharp (see Hey RaboDirect, if Mike Hosking’s selling you, I’m not buying) delivered a twisted, in parts factually inaccurate diatribe against the café worker.
Continue reading →

A shiver of recognition. World War III propaganda poster designs

Wow, there’s something about these poster designs by Bill McMullen – visualising what might be themes of ‘messaging’ from the gummint in the event of the simmering cold war turning hot. Take a look at these and more and read the article by P.W. Singer and August Cole at the Motherboard website.

Click to enlarge

Continue reading →

‘Harmful’ online speech. Outlawing castigation? Cactus Kate tries to vanish.

On three occasions during my ‘career’ as an online critic and avenging angel I have deliberately pulled back from castigating a ‘target’.

In all three cases, I became concerned at what appeared to me to be the real possibility that the person whose actions and modus operandi I was criticising might do themselves physical harm as a result of the stress they were experiencing in response to my criticism.

In one case, a report reached me of an ugly and violent outburst of anger (including punching a hole in an office wall) at reading one of my columns. In another, it became clear to me from online responses that a property spruiker was not coping with having his dishonest marketing methods picked apart by me and his long trail of broken promises laid out for the world to see in all their shabby disingenuousness.

I had long ago reached the conclusion that I never want my words to be the final straw, the thing that impelled someone ‘over the edge’.

This may be a fine point, but it’s also been my deliberate practice to try to focus my criticisms on people’s hyperbolic marketing claims, on their demonstrable deceit and examples of gross hypocrisy and, most of all, on their actions — not so much on their character. But there’s no getting away from the fact that a pattern of behaviour does actually speak of someone’s character, in the end.

Even legend in his own lunchbox Cameron Slater appreciates a bit of castigation now and then

See? Even Cameron Slater appreciates a bit of castigation now and then. I had, of course, believed lies.

Dirty Politics-annoyed-ThePaepae_2015-Jun-24I mentioned before, in my response to Dirty Politics (here) that by one of those strange coincidences that make life such a rich tapestry, I had the … erm, interesting experience of reading some pages of Cameron Slater’s [allegedly hacked] Facebook messages to and from someone whom Nicky Hager described as Slater’s “trusted friend” (see right) – conversations wherein Slater expressed his displeasure and annoyance at being subject to criticism by me on this blog.

Now, sure, some of the language regarding moi was colourful, and some of it expressed a desire, if not a determination, to do me violence – but it doesn’t read to me as if Slater was in any real way driven to despair by my ‘castigation’ – not in the same way that the people I’ve just discussed above were.

It’s been evident to some of us for quite a while that Cameron Slater lives in a fantasy world. He often expresses himself as if he were some kind of hard-boiled tough guy with much more influence, potential, and day to day efficacy than he actually possesses. So to consider myself ‘at risk’ of physical violence from him seems a joke really. Indeed, whenever we run into each other, the conversation between us is invariably civil – and I expect it always will be, despite what he might say in the privacy (cough) of his Facebook conversations with “trusted friends”. Don’t be alarmed by this next statement: I think we have some things in common. (And that’s why I’ve accepted Cameron and Regan’s kind offer of the position of editor of Freed … nah, just joking!)

Slater 'bigger than Nicky Hager CTrevettNZH_2014-Aug-22

Oh, Cameron. * wince* (source: Whaledump via Claire Trevett)

But is such online castigation ‘harmful’?

I’ve had a reason in the last few weeks to consider these and other aspects of “harmful digital communications” in relation to online criticism and truth-telling. I’ve also been considering again the mechanics of the nasty underground smear campaigns and “hit jobs” on public health scientists and campaigners apparently organised as part of the ongoing mercenary dirty PR operation Carrick Graham conducted through ghostwritten articles on Cameron Slater’s attack blog. (Still conducts? Probably. Sounds like it)

On Twitter the other night someone suggested that any online comment that caused “distress” to someone – whether true or not – could be caught under the definition of “harmful” communication in legislation due to pass through Parliament next week. It remains to be seen what the final form of the New Zealand legislation will be, particularly the ‘criminal offences’ parts, but people whose judgement I trust seem worried about restrictions on free speech and criticism.  Continue reading →

The escape of exnzpat, Part 30

Big trouble under the shadow of the Tower


The tower loomed ahead in the dark like an ancient, druid obelisk.  It was a lonely thing, and in the fading light it took on the color of desolate gray; it was as hoary and as ugly as a pile of wetted ash.  There was power here:  horrible, evil, perverted; of truth and light, under its dark oblivion, I saw neither.  Here, only menace lived.  That we should arrive after dusk, when all the goodness of the golden sun had run from the world, frightened me terribly.  And Lilith, my limping, broken friend reeking of despair for her lost dog, only made the coming peril all the more terrible.  Blood leaked from between my teeth and I did not know from whence it came nor, I think, did I care, for the tower ahead consumed all of my senses.  Its enigmatic darkness commanded something like awe in me.  I’d never thought of death as a tangible thing and yet, here it was right in front of me. Continue reading →

‘Dirty Politics’ revisited: More evidence of deceit and covering tracks

It’s funny how the brain works. Earlier this week, I passed a copy of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics on to a new workmate after he’d expressed a harshly negative opinion of Hager — but when I asked him if he’d read any of Hager’s books he admitted he had not. Rather than lend him mine, I bought a copy of Dirty Politics for him to read. In handing it over, I flicked through it again. Although I hadn’t read the book in a blinding hurry when I first got it (read my original comments here) I realised there was material in the book that I had forgotten.

There was also some important information in Hager’s book which has been given extra context by the Rawshark/Whaledump ‘dumps’ of material on which parts of the book were based, and by the Chisholm inquiry into the level of former cabinet minister Judith Collins’ contact/involvement with Cameron Slater and their joint machinations. (The Chisholm inquiry report is available here PDF 720k)

Carrick Graham: deceitful smear campaigns "without apologies."

Carrick Graham: deceitful (ghostwritten) attacks and smear campaigns “without apologies.”

Working within tightly prescribed terms of reference, Justice Chisholm inquired into the sleazy, dishonest ‘destabilisation’ scheme which saw dirty PR operator Carrick Graham apparently engage Slater and fellow attack blogger Cathy Odgers/Cactus Kate to publish smears against financial regulators and investigators on behalf of Hanover Finance director Mark Hotchin. They were ‘working for’ Graham, Chisholm finds. Apparently some journalists were (witting or unwitting) pawns in that dirty campaign. Shame.

So I decided to read Dirty Politics again. And even though as I write this my own launch day copy is on the bookshelf behind me, as the result of a passing comment about his own long form reading habits Giovanni Tiso made when we met for coffee in Wellington recently, I decided to get the Kindle versionWell, that was a good idea. (Thanks, Giovanni!) I’m thoroughly enjoying reading it this way, and the extra features like the ‘X-Ray’ view.

Arise, Sir Whaledump

Like probably thousands of others, I downloaded and read the Whaledump dumps. They were released, it seems to me, in response to the puerile defence run by some embarrassed by the revelations in Dirty Politics — from the Prime Minister down to his loyal poodles like Mike Hosking: “Nicky Hager is just making it up!” Of course he wasn’t.

In my own case, I loaded the dumps directly into my beloved DevonThink Pro (last mentioned here) so they are imminently searchable and cross references were created by the program’s AI. So now, re-reading the book, where Hager quotes a conversation between Cameron Slater and one of his co-conspirators, in some cases I’ve been able to easily pull up that fragment and read it in context.

I’ve also been struck again by how responsible Hager has been in his use of this material.

Obviously, Slater, Graham, Odgers, Jordan Williams, Simon Lusk, Judith ‘tip line’ Collins, etc. would like to see the whole correspondence suppressed to obscure their devious schemes — and their character? — but I can definitely see the ‘public interest’ justification for its publication.

So, anyway, in the middle of this — and the coincidental burst of publicity that Slater’s ghostwriter and paymaster Carrick Graham received (see my previous post) I’ve naturally been thinking about Rawshark/Whaledump, and, indeed, re-reading some of the material this [alleged] hacker and whistleblower revealed.

Then, last night, after winning an award for journalism, former Fairfax NZ, now NZ Herald journalist Matt Nippert tweeted his acknowledgement of the role Rawshark/Whaledump played in his and fellow winner David Fisher’s work this last year:  Continue reading →

Carrick Graham, vendettas and miasma

Pic from North & South, digital effects Peter Aranyi.

Pic: Adrian Malloch, North & South, digital effects Peter Aranyi.

I don’t talk much about PR attack blogger Cameron Slater’s sometime paymaster and ghostwriter Carrick Graham, although I haven’t completely ignored him — (see?).

Carrick’s claim to fame was revealed by Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, and in somewhat redacted material leaked to the news media and further afield by the [alleged] hacker Rawshark through his Whaledump twitter account and various ‘dumps’.

Ghostwriter Graham, along with extreme right wing* (former) blogger lawyer Cactus Kate — Cathy Odgers, who was another of Cameron Slater’s ghostwriters — was apparently hired to run public ‘reputation attacks’ on public health advocates and scientists, as well as the financial crime investigation units looking into the activities of failed financier Mark Hotchin.

The Chisholm inquiry revealed Carrick’s destabilisation campaign against financial regulators. Graham somehow managed to convince Judge Lester Chisholm that his role was only a tertiary role — behind Slater and Cathy Odgers, even though he employed them!
These activities were, in my view, a low point in recent history — for journalism and for the public relations industry.

Now Carrick Graham might see all that as ‘just business’. OK. But, as someone prominent says, ‘There’s a range of views on that.’

By an astonishing coincidence, apparently Carrick Graham isn’t a member of the PR Institute of NZ, so therefore, not subject to their code of conduct and ethics. How convenient.

So I read Sciblogger Peter Griffin’s post about Carrick Graham’s ongoing mercenary PR attack activities with a curled lip. It’s worth reading: “Carrick Graham still gunning for public health researchers

Click to visit sciblogs

Click to visit sciblogs

Money quote:

The piece reveals that when Newport visited Graham’s Parnell office, he was greeted with “an array of passport-sized photographs, stuck to the wall like a TV cop show operations room, linked by colour thread. These are his current targets, complete with their affiliated organisations and their available budgets”.
The current targets, he adds, are “people linked to the HRC, the Health Research Council. This is the major funder on behalf of central government of biomedical, public health, Maori health and Pacific health research … these are the people Graham is currently being paid to attack”.

“…these are the people Graham is currently being paid to attack.” Pretty grubby, eh?

– P

Cathy Odgers commemorative stamp

Cathy Odgers commemorative stamp

* my definition: further right than <1% ACT Party, which Cathy Odgers left in despair, partly at its choosing nutty old men as leaders.

The Hollow Man: PM’s “fabricated” smear on Snowden documents


Oxford Dictionary

Evoking FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) is a tactic commonly used by tobacco lobbyists and climate change denialists – attempting to impugn the veracity of evidence. In this case the Prime Minister’s empty smear has been exposed …


The New Zealand Prime Minister’s much-repeated smear of Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA documents detailing NZ intelligence  (GCSB) operations against our trading partners and friends. (Click to enlarge)


Click to read at nzherald.co.nz

Click to read at nzherald.co.nz

The NZ Herald‘s David Fisher reports

The Prime Minister’s office has said it has no factual basis for suggesting Edward Snowden documents which exposed GCSB secrets were “fabricated”.
… The “fabrication” claim has been part of the Prime Minister’s standard response to revelations of activities carried out by New Zealand’s electronic eavesdropping agency.

… The Herald sought any information held by the Prime Minister which informed him or his office over the alleged “fabrication”.
The Prime Minister’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson said “no information has been identified”. He said the PM’s office had to refuse the [Official Information Act] request because the “information requested does not exist or cannot be found”.

Pretty shabby work from the Prime Minister’s Office. Just what we’ve come to expect. Good on David Fisher for calling them on this BS.

Mr Key’s penchant for personally smearing the integrity of journalists and others with embarrassing or inconvenient evidence is well-established. (viz. Nicky Hager, Jon Stephenson, Bradley Ambrose.)

It has always been, in my view, one of Mr Key’s least attractive traits*, and this time his office has been caught out doing it again, with no real basis.

– P

* See Are you dating a tyrant? Take our simple quiz to find out!

Following through on a complaint to TVNZ re Mike Hosking’s lack of fairness

‘Talk is cheap,’ as the saying goes. I sent this formal complaint in to TVNZ (my first!) last week about Mike Hosking’s unfair victim-bashing. A friend encouraged me to post it here – possibly to inspire others to follow suit. I was reluctant, wary of giving the impression of grandstanding. But he asked me to do it again today — so, here you go…

Click on the images below to enlarge the pages, or here it is as a 3 page PDF (450Kb).

Over to you. – P

Continue reading →

Russell Brand’s (quieter) Ed ‘Milibrand’ interview

I heard excerpts of this interview on BBC PM early this morning — and wanted to watch it. I’m glad I did.

Good to see the ‘despondency message’ (“Why vote? It doesn’t matter”) Brand has promoted being challenged.

Miliband’s points – making change through politicians can be hard work, slower than you want, and subject to well-funded and powerful opposition (including from the media) were, no doubt tailored to this audience, but I wouldn’t call them inauthentic – would you? It’s not easy – for the citizens or the politicians. And change takes time.

See what you think. (Is Miliband right about media moguls like Rupert Murdoch being “much less powerful than he used to be”? Hmm. Maybe.)

You may also be interested in this earlier post which featured the infamous(?), wonderful, lively, Jeremy Paxman interview with Russell Brand — which was the context for the interview above:
Orchestrating smear campaigns against your rivals is seen as dodgy in business, so what about politics?

– P

PS I know some of my friends won’t be impressed. That’s OK.

The road to Mike Hosking, vilifier of young women

Mike Hosking. Not what you would call a well-ropunded person. (Click to enlarge.)

Mike Hosking. Sadly, not what you would call a well-rounded person. (Click to enlarge.)

Some of us have always seen radio announcer Mike Hosking as a puffed-up little prat.

I was there at Broadcasting House when this shortish young guy with a big voice and a very strange manner arrived in the Network Newsroom. He’d come across from Radio NZ’s commercial network. We were one big happy family then – this was before the commercial network was spun off as The Radio Network. I still have the launch shirt with the TRN lollipop logo on the front somewhere. Mike was “23 going on 60,” as one newsroom wag described him.

Mike looked like a school leaver wearing his uncle’s suit. And shoes. He was prematurely conservative, a yokel with a clichéd radio jock’s voice, in the big smoke and in a big hurry. I worked with a reporter who would become Mike’s first wife. They seemed pretty suited. Marie was a bit of an oddball too (maybe we all were?) She was a little harsh with people around her at times, but then radio news can be a pressure job. Radio’s rolling news deadlines can be wearying. But she seemed a competent reporter, probably better than me. More steel-edged.

People at Radio NZ were generally happy for them and the couple seemed to keep to themselves. Mike dressed more and more like a bank manager with flash, old men’s suits and silk ties. Years later the couple would become ‘famous’ for trying to keep paparazzi from photographing their twins in public. Mike, it seemed, was a protective father and I admired at least that about him. Which makes his acid victim-bashing this week all the more galling for me.

Continue reading →