Hard News by Russell Brown


Friendly Fire?

In a story (not online at the time of writing) on page seven of yesterday's Sunday Star Times, Don Brash complains to Jenni McManus about what he regards as Police "inaction" over a complaint about the alleged theft of his emails in 2005. He echoes any number of friends of the party.

It's wholly understandable that Brash wants to know who knifed him, and how.

But yesterday's lead in the same paper, also by Jenni McManus, headlined Diane Foreman breaks silence on burglaries at her apartment, tends to suggest that some of the most vociferous complainants might not really want the big reveal:

Given the timing, and the fact nothing was taken, Foreman says she believes Brash's political enemies may have been behind the break-ins, including people seeking evidence of a romance between the two.

Expensive art and money in the apartment were not touched.
Foreman says she is not "beating up on the government" or accusing Labour of any involvement. "There are a range of possibilities. I think the culprit is closer to home." She would not elaborate.

Foreman presumably isn't saying so lightly, and she certainly isn't a fan of the present government, as the story goes on to note:

Foreman says she was so incensed by [The Hollow Men] and its references to her that she laid a complaint about the burglaries with the police at the beginning of this year.

She says she is speaking out now because of her "absolute disgust" that the government, through arts funding organisation Creative New Zealand, has chosen to fund a play purportedly based on the Brash emails, which is due to open at Wellington's Bats Theatre later this year.

This is tosh, of course. "The government" has not "chosen" to fund the play, which is not based on the leaked emails themselves, but on Nicky Hager's book. A public arts funding agency has granted funding to a proposal. If either Foreman or McManus want New Zealand governments to start applying a political hygiene test to works of art, they're getting into some pretty strange territory.

But that's not the point. The point is that someone who clearly knows (or suspects) more than she's telling, is saying that whatever did happen was friendly fire.

So perhaps we could expect some relief from fevered claims about the Parliamentary email system being "hacked" by dirty lefties, at least until there is a single shred of evidence that there was any hacking at all.

The leakage (or theft, if you prefer) of the Brash emails always looked more like an inside job, whether of political or personal motivation. Stories about super-hackers defeating secure systems and stealing away without a trace generally belong in the movies.

No one would envy Foreman in suffering the intrusions she did -- it must be terrifying. She also says in the story that one of the intruders was subsequently identified as a private investigator. The only people we actually know to have indulged in dodgy investigative subterfuge in 2005 were not exactly social liberal liberals.

DPF offers some measured comment on the story. As usual, some of his readers are less than measured.

Meanwhile, Newsweek has an interesting backgrounder on the climate change denial industry. Meanwhile, this discussion on a genuine -- but ultimately inconsequential -- flaw in NASA's climate calculations is something of a triumph for the Slashdot moderation system. Read the modded-up analyses by people who know what they're talking about and you'll get a pretty good sense of the issue.

There's also quite a good discussion in this thread about a new essay by Freeman Dyson about the need for heretics in science, with particular respect to climate change sceptics.

Money quote? Via a Slashdot reader, this one from the late Carl Sagan: "They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

PS: Don't forget the tasty buffet of digital music that is the Public Address Big Stereo Bundle.

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