Will Congress listen?

A campaign calling for global responsibility (click for link to eff.org)

Just between us

I am, of course, a fully paid up member of the Vast Yet Peculiarly Secret Left Wing News Media & Trade Union Conspiracy to Deprive Cameron Slater of Free Speech* although I can’t get to all the weekly meetings.

Still, the VYPSLWNM&TUCTDCSOFS monthly newsletters produced by the bright young interns in the research department are always gold. Here are a few extracts from the latest issue which, naturally, reports in full on the VYPSLWNM&TUCTDCSOFS secret-yet-crowd-source-funded defamation action being taken against Cameron Slater’s puppet master Carrick Graham and Slater Jnr in order to (naturally) silence them. This is, of course, fully in keeping with the objects and constitution of our secret conspiracy, you understand.

All of us in the VYPSLWNM&TUCTDCSOFS have had enough of these propagandists and their inconvenient (cough) examination of our secret-yet-publicly-funded-publicity campaign to improve the health of New Zealanders by mercilessly plaguing the completely legal and bona fide business enterprises of big tobacco, big liquor, big sugar, and the fast/fat foods industry who always pay their taxes in full and contribute to society by employing deceitful propagandists to dishonestly smear, demean and harass public health advocates.

Oops. Have I let the cat out of the bag?


For context, when considering this ‘threat’ to embroil an online critic in legal action, it’s worth knowing that Slater Jnr has very recently aided and abetted a delusional time-waster who (it seems to me) has over six months sought to clumsily abuse the Court process to pursue personal vendettas against his critics.

So, although one might think Slater has his hands full bailing out the sinking way loyal waka  … you just don’t know.

As for this …  Continue reading →

On our way back to summer

Breathe in, breathe out. Don’t stop.

Some of my Northern hemisphere friends are grumbling about a less than convincing summer so far.

But here in New Zealand we’ve just had the longest night and I took this pic (above) out my kitchen window at 7:22 this morning — the morning of the shortest day.

Yay — we’re on our way back to summer.

– P

Tedeschi Trucks Band – ‘Anyhow’

Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Anyhow” (Live in Studio)

via Horus @real_Deity 

Apparently this choir boy and his glove puppet are being sued for defamation

Carrick Graham, Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for British American Tobacco, poses for a photograph September 9, 2005 in Napier, New Zealand. BAT announced today that it will close its Napier plant with the loss of 170 jobs. The Napier plant, formerly the Rothmans factory, produces up to 2.2 billion cigarettes a year for the New Zealand and Pacific Island markets. September 09, 2005| Credit: John Cowpland

Carrick Graham when he was employed as a flack for British American Tobacco. (click to view at Getty Images)

It’s hard to believe, I know, that such an innocent looking guy (above) could possibly be involved in a protracted, commercially motivated series of smear campaigns, taking advantage of a half-wit and his website to personally and repeatedly demean and attack public health advocates.
But look:


And here it is in the news, citing Carrick Graham’s (and his easily-led accomplice’s) apparent “campaign of deliberate and sustained defamation.”…

click to read at stuff.co.nz

click to read at stuff.co.nz

Given what we already know from Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, it seems to me Professor Swinburn, Professor Sellman and Shane Bradbrook should be quickly able to dispense with any ‘honest opinion’ fig leaf/defence offered by the slippery PR flack and his ethically-challenged hireling. Continue reading →

On arrogance and credulity

One of these two head bangers infringes the privacy of other people to attack them. Oh, hang on – they both do. (Pic: Rachel Glucina)

One of these two head bangers infringes the privacy of people to attack them. Oh, hang on – they BOTH do. (Pic: Rachel Glucina)

I’ve had cause to think about privacy issues recently, and situations where people and organisations can fairly be said to have ‘interfered’ with someone’s privacy (well, mine, in fact, but that’s a story for later).

Today I stumbled across a 2012 non-apology letter from then Social Development Minister Paula Bennett who faced an adverse finding from the Human Rights Commission over her release of a citizen’s private information. Ms Bennett had responded to criticism of government policy relating to social welfare beneficiaries by releasing personal information about one of the critics. Nasty.  Continue reading →

Wow. A rocket landing

One of my interests is rocketry and photography. This, from Space-X, is amazing.

Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?

Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance.

Click to enlarge

Chilcot report preview – click to enlarge

I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at the ‘sexed-up dossier’ and manipulation of dodgy so-called intelligence about Sadam Hussein’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Among other things, the report disclosed that Blair’s cabinet wasn’t properly informed or consulted because Blair conducted a ‘sofa style’ of government, where important decisions were made by a small close group, who keep their discussions off the record by excluding official public service record keepers (like the Cabinet Secretary) from recording the inner circle’s decisions, or taking notes.

In other words, decisions about the most serious of issues facing a nation were taken not just in secret, but in an improper undemocratic manner by a craven little cabal. The way the WMD dossier was used, and the stifling of voices who didn’t buy Blair’s spin (e.g. about Sadam being able to launch attacks on the UK in “45 minutes”) or the in David Kelly‘s case, the extinguishment of those skeptical, truth-telling voices should be a lesson to all who seek government accountability.

Whistleblowers, people of conscience, can be like a safety valve. Are they perfect people? No, they’re human and screw up like we all do. But they’re people who speak up, to try to call attention to abuses of power.

No wonder the abusers of power, the holders of dark secrets of illegal actions, and those guilty of misleading their citizens fear them so much.

This video by the ACLU is worth considering, whatever your view of whistleblowers.

9/11 Saudi links. “Let the evidence be seen.”

“Let the evidence be seen.”
Hard to argue with that, but whether a link to the ‘Saudi Government’ can be made seems questionable. The sovereign immunity angle is also messy.

Good on Terry Strada and the other 9/11 families for pushing for legal accountability. It’s their right.

– P

On disagreements among friends

image: hollingerapplebutter.wordpress.com

image: hollingerapplebutter.wordpress.com

Recently in another venue I had occasion to disagree, publicly but in a minor way, with an online friend who’d published an article that I agreed with – mostly, but not entirely.

It’s not the first time that’s happened. Indeed, I’ve said before, in the context of my criticism of my beloved PropertyTalk discussion forum, I can be an uncomfortable friend to have. Sorry.

As an act of discipline, I try to be ready to accommodate people perceiving my own words and actions – no matter how robustly expressed – differently to how I see them.

Sometimes I can appear to see things, or portray them, in black-and-white terms. Even with the abundant qualifiers, modifiers and softeners I deploy to emphasize that I’m only sharing my view of things, my opinion or conclusions based on what I’ve observed, it still comes out pretty harsh sometimes. (Maybe it’s a bit of the Asperger’s or something? Dunno.)

As someone who on occasions issues tough criticisms of other human beings, I know the truth of ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. So is ugliness, eh? I know I’m repeating myself, but I do really try to take this approach: “Oh, good, we see things differently. Let’s discuss this.” (That is, of course, a lot easier when it’s not your spouse ‘differing’ with you.)

So, no big deal, but this friend and I disagreed about an aspect of what she wrote. I frankly misjudged her reaction to me saying so (which, yeah, that happens) and copped a bit of heat back. Bokay. No tears. That also is going to happen.

Let me say the writer is someone I respect and admire for all sorts of solid reasons. She’s also someone who has influenced my thinking about a number of things, I’ve said as much, and she’s still well and truly in the ‘credit’ column as far as I’m concerned. I *think* we’re OK, but it got chilly for a little bit.

Anyway, it got me thinking.  Continue reading →

What is Privacy?

Nice 3 minute overview from Privacy International …

A chilling line: “…Even the fact that you’re watching this video right now. All of it.”
Oh great!

Then read this:
Even basic phone logs can reveal deeply personal information, researchers find | The Guardian

Here’s a link to Privacy International’s website.

– P

A message to Cameron Slater’s enablers – please think again

image: reckontalk.com

image: reckontalk.com

Those who are encouraging and enabling the National Party’s disgraced, now largely abandoned liar and propagandist Cameron Slater in his latest demented hate campaign need to look into the future and see where the road they’re on is leading.

It’s not new for me to say Cameron Slater’s worldview is marked by hot resentment, bitterness, dark fantasy and paranoia. Likewise, how many different ways can I describe him as someone who seems to routinely carry out dishonest, grubby and unethical schemes?

Skim some of the posts under the Cameron Slater ‘tag’ here at The Paepae, particularly the older ones, and you’ll see I formed an opinion fairly slowly, but it  hardened. A tipping point was his protracted campaign of nasty smears against striking port workers, including PUBLISHING PRIVATE INFORMATION LEAKED TO HIM from company personnel files, evidently on behalf of the Ports of Auckland, although this was rather implausibly denied. ‘What a nasty bastard’, I thought at the time. (See: Of bloggers, dogs and fleas. The Ports of Auckland’s ‘ethical and legal breaches’)

In my view, my contempt for Slater Jnr’s actions and modus operandi is pretty solidly based – and based not just on observation of his online and media personas and machinations, but on personal interaction. I’ve talked face to face with him for hours, and we’ve discussed in person some of my criticisms of his actions. What he didn’t disclose in those conversations was the role of Simon Lusk and Carrick Graham and Paul Honnor in funding his PR attack blog, and the extent of paid ghostwritten PR and political “hits” published under his own name. In short, I gave him too much credit.

I also remember a discussion I had with Chris Trotter, a sometime source of gossip for Slater who bestowed on Chris the title ‘Honourable Leftie’. (Some endorsements you really don’t want, eh?) At that stage, Slater was still desperately wanting a way ‘in’ to mainstream media – perhaps a Talkback slot at Radio LIVE, or some such – but his hot vitriol and (we know now) compromised target selection were continually shooting him in the foot. When we talked, Trotter lamented Slater’s wasted ‘potential’ and we agreed his lack of discipline was destroying his attempts at building his credibility, such as it was.

The benefit of the doubt only goes so far

I’m not proud of it, but I’m sorry to say there comes a point where I give up on people. I don’t ‘hate’ them, I just write them off as a lost cause. Sorry.
In this case, I’ve personally come to see Slater Jnr as recidivist liar, an awful hypocrite, a charlatan, and a nasty unscrupulous bully. He is also, as Judith Collins indicated to the Chisholm Inquiry (and the nation) a disappointment and untrustworthy. (Your view may vary, of course.)

But if this post was just another well-founded edition of ‘How Scummy is Cameron Slater? Let me count the ways’, well, ho-hum.  Continue reading →

The toxic mental effects of being in power too long

President Barack Obama tells Jerry Seinfeld ‘world leaders’ who’ve been in power too long lose their judgement.

Interesting that he would say that, eh?

Seinfeld says, meaningfully, “Privilege is toxic.” Yep. I’ve had cause to think that in regard to certain unpickings in New Zealand politics, recently.


See the exchange in context in this video of Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: “Just Tell Him You’re The President” (Season 7, Episode 1) on YouTube.

A worthwhile primer on why & how government moves to undermine/ban encryption are so dangerous

Access Now’s Amie Stepanovich just delivered this useful overview of the important issues around the latest moves in The Crypto Wars.

And this article, by Mark Wilson at betanews.com re President Obama effectively backing backdoors, is instructive (if a disappointment).

Privacy and security killer: Obama supports backdoors to bypass encryption

“If technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key, there’s no door at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer, how do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot?” he wondered aloud, his almost rhetorical question playing neatly on two of America’s biggest fears. He suggested that security keys should be made available to third parties, saying “you cannot take an absolutist view” when it comes to balancing security and privacy. But Obama has a solution: backdoors.

Obama avoided talking directly about the Apple/FBI case, but it hung heavy in the air nonetheless. So what is his solution to the issue of encryption standing in the way of government being able to access whatever it wants? The out-going president’s answer to the problem is far from fleshed out, and far from being a solution that anyone in their right mind would find agreeable. Addressing the SXSW audience, he said:

What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement because if in fact you can’t crack that at all, government can’t get in, then everybody is walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket.

While Obama says that he backs the notion of strong systems of encryption, he said that for issues that were agreed to be important (by whom he did not make clear) it should be possible for the security key to be made available to “smallest number of people possible”. A backdoor by any other name.

He said:
There has to be some concession to the need to be able to get to that information somehow.

Dress it up any way you like, but Obama is suggesting that backdoors should be implemented.

Strange fixations. What Judith Collins told the Chisholm Inquiry – Part 2

Sharon Murdoch's cartoon from Judith Collins' first period of elevation to cabinet minister bears repeating. Read on and you'll see why.

Sharon Murdoch’s cartoon from Judith Collins’ first period of elevation to cabinet minister bears repeating. Read on and you’ll see why. (click to enlarge)

To recap:

We’re working our way through a tranche of witness transcripts and other evidence which was part of the proceedings of the Chisholm inquiry.

Previous posts on this topic have been:





More to come.

Mrs Collins in the witness box

Judith Collins’ time as a witness under examination at the Chisholm inquiry into ‘Allegations concerning the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office’ began at 10:25 am on 29 October 2014 and concluded at 6:01 pm that same day.

The redacted transcript makes interesting reading. You can download the whole 145 page document here (PDF 10 MB) along with her 19 page affidavit and other documents linked to her testimony at the foot of this previous post.

Reading Mrs Collins’ transcript, a few thoughts struck me … let’s look at some extracts.

“I woke up this morning…”

As noted in an earlier post, one of the ‘surprises’ Lester Chisholm was confronted with was a one-sided lack of records between Slater Jnr and Judith Collins, despite the fact they both reported that they “phoned each other often”.

From reading the discussions between Chisholm and Mrs Collins’s lawyer Francis Cooke, it seems clear –or at least likely– that Mrs Collins was asked if she could offer any explanation for this lacuna. (Lawyers love this word which simply means an ‘unfilled space, gap, or missing portion’ – in this case in the documented narrative.)

03 collins transcript page 8

“My friend told me there’s a way …”

I found Mrs Collins’ suggested ‘explanation’ on page 8 of her witness transcript interesting.
Continue reading →