Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The Wellington Cables

406 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 13 14 15 16 17 Newer→ Last

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    nothing from New Zealand hits the shelves for much under $80

    Deborah Coddington will be happy: http://pundit.co.nz/content/stop-whining-and-suck-it-up

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Reid, in reply to Matthew Reid,

    NZ is seen to be responding to needs and relatively free from subordinating aid to political, strategic or military interests

    However, that was then, this is now...

    South Africa • Since Nov 2006 • 80 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    He'd have to cheat there is only 1 z on a scrabble board. Perhaps Zbigniew and that calls for the innovation of personal names.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    You can use a blank for the other z, without recourse to executive privilege.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The US has an interesting arc
    over the past few decades:
    - hegemony (same old dominate tricks)
    - hedge money (risque business)
    - hedge funds (and fundamentalists)
    - hedgehogs (and other ratty pricks)
    - hedge moany (we never saw it coming)...

    ...and all with no application of Hegel it seems.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Hegel only gets pulled out if the bomb ever drops. There's just no other appropriate time for that particular bit of the old thesis-antithesis-synthesis dialectic.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Hegel only gets pulled out if the bomb ever drops.

    Odd. He's only worth 9 points unless he's on a double or triple word score.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Bady is at it again (I know, I know, I should just turn my PAS account into his RSS feed), this time specifically on the fissures in the debate on the merit of the charges against Assange. He concludes thusly, although as always you have to read the whole argument.

    Very interesting article. He writes well, and without emotional bias. Interesting link in the comments, which I hadn't seen before http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/13/rundle-timeline-of-assanges-visit-to-sweden-and-events-that-followed/

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    These, just to be clear, are the guys that even Bush wanted nothing to do with but Obama has lifted sanctions on and is training and arming.

    and here is why:

    INDONESIA threatened to derail a visit to Jakarta by President Barack Obama this year unless he overturned the US ban on training the controversial Kopassus army special forces.

    Leaked US State Department cables reveal that the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, privately told the Americans that continuing the ban - introduced in 1999 because of Kopassus's appalling human rights record - was the ''litmus test of the bilateral relationship'' between the US and Indonesia.

    Six months later the US agreed to resume ties with Kopassus, despite fierce criticism from some human rights groups and American politicians about Jakarta's failure to hold officers to account for their role in atrocities.

    and

    The US embassy is also revealed in another cable as heavily playing down a report by Human Rights Watch last year that alleged Kopassus soldiers had committed recent human rights abuses in Papua. The embassy calls the report unbalanced and unconfirmed and says the abuses detailed do not appear to ''meet the standard of gross violation of human rights''.

    The Kopassus torture video that so rocked Indonesia this year (I won't link) is freely available online.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    In July, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the United States felt the time had come to renew links with Kopassus “as a result of Indonesian military reforms over the past decade, the ongoing professionalization of the TNI and recent actions taken by the Ministry of Defense to address human rights issues.”

    Appointed by Bush as the architect of the Iraq “surge”, Gates continues to enjoy Obama’s confidence as Defense Secretary. As deputy director of the CIA under Reagan Gates advocated the bombing of Nicaragua, and called for the US to do everything in its power short of direct military action to remove the Sandinista Government. Gates advocated selling arms to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. Despite evidence that he was complicit in the events of the Iran-Contra scandal he escaped conviction.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Oh look, a re-live-ation

    So it seems that some retired ex "govt officals" snuffling their free gin while being entertained by the US that all we wanted was to save a few dollars here and there when we pulled the Nookularfree rabbit out of the hat. Bizarre.

    And we wanted to talk to the French???? One year after (or so) Labour got elected they bombed our harbour? The NZ History suggests that:

    This incident did much to promote what was described as New Zealand's 'silent war of independence' and was central to an upsurge in New Zealand nationalism. There was a sense of having to 'go it alone' as traditional allies such as the United States and Britain sat on their hands while France worked to block New Zealand exports. The failure of Britain and the United States to condemn this act of terrorism hardened support for a more independent foreign policy line.

    It sounds like it was a lot of "Old Times" talk at an Embassy function.

    And China?????? The filthy French?? The Pacific????? My instincts tell me that practically every opinion piece I have seen on the Pacific Influence suggests that China and France were two countries we were suggesting might pull their head in a bit.

    I have to concur with the end bit though:

    "Finally, after great pressure from the Australians, the [government] relented and agreed to send troops. After all that, according to the Australian High Commissioner, due to an equipment breakdown, the troops had to be flown to the Solomons on Australian aircraft."

    The cable acknowledges the Clark government's eventual commitment of $3 billion to upgrade the military but questions both the validity of the figure and the practicality of many of the equipment upgrades.

    Anyone want to buy a Skyhawk? LAV? We have a few sitting around. Idle. Rusting.

    A review of the Oxford Debate may be in order.

    "I hold that the character of nuclear weapons is such that their very existence corrupts the best of intentions. That the means in fact perverts the end. And I hold that their character is such that they have brought us to the greatest of all perversions. The belief that this evil is necessary.....When in fact is is not.

    ...It is self defeating logic, just as the weapons themselves are self defeating. To compell an ally to accept nuclear weapons against the wishes of that ally, is to take the moral position of totatalitarianism which allows for no self determination and which is exactly the evil that we are supposed to be fighting against.

    ....But the result has been that we have been told by some officials in the US adminstration that our decision is not as they put it, to be cost free. That we are in fact to be made to pay for our action. Not by our enemies, but by our friends. We are in fact to be made an example of, we are to be ostracised, we are to be convicted of some form of heresy and put on probation. We are going to be kept there until we are compelled to resume our seat in the dresscircle of the nuclear theatre.

    ...and for me, the position of my country is a genuine long term affirmation of this proposition: that nuclear weapons are morally indefensible and I support that proposition."

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ross Mason,

    The filthy French??

    Although intense at the time of the Rainbow Warrior bombing, the nationalistic outrage quickly faded. After the jailing of the two straggler DGSE agents Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur the Listener reported that Mafart had taken a subscription to the magazine, but only for six months, implying that he didn't expect to serve anything like his full ten-year sentence.

    When David Lange was asked if a deal with France was possible he laughed the suggestion off, saying that if National wanted to win the 1987 election they'd only have to show a picture of the two agents sunning themselves on some beach. In mid-1986 a deal was struck to send the pair to the French atoll of Hao for three years, in return for an apology and $NZ6.5 million. Mafart went home to Paris with stomach pains after 17 months. Prieur lasted a further 5 months until she managed to get pregnant. None of this was a major issue for Lange's Government.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    None of this was a major issue for Lange’s Government.

    That's true enough. It wasn't completely without lasting effects though. Class 4a in a small provincial college abandoned its attempts at learning about how to talk about ''the pen of my uncle' in french. Text books got handed in and a strategy of dumb insolence was put in place. The campaign was ultimately successful and we got a smattering of Te Reo instead.

    That latest cable is fun. I'd kind of forgotten just how special and precious the Bush administration was in its first term.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alex Coleman,

    It wasn’t completely without lasting effects though.

    A motorcycle hire outfit in Sydney's Surry Hills was attempting to hit French nationals with a Rainbow Warrior surcharge as recently as 1994.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    Bady is at it again (I know, I know, I should just turn my PAS account into his RSS feed), this time specifically on the fissures in the debate on the merit of the charges against Assange. He concludes thusly, although as always you have to read the whole argument.

    The Guardian has viewed the police documents and covers the allegations against Assange in detail. Nice to have an account that's not spin from Assange's lawyers.

    I hope certain people pay attention to this part:

    The co-ordinator of the WikiLeaks group in Stockholm, who is a close colleague of Assange and who also knows both women, told the Guardian: "This is a normal police investigation. Let the police find out what actually happened. Of course, the enemies of WikiLeaks may try to use this, but it begins with the two women and Julian. It is not the CIA sending a woman in a short skirt."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks for the Guardian link, Russell, but just as a small courtesy a trigger warning wouldn't go amiss because the story does still contain epic rape bingo from Assange's supporters/lawyers. Perfectly legitimate to report, needless to add, but there may well be some PAS readers who don't need to come upon it unawares.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A very good Guardian editorial concludes on an interesting note:

    The broader plan of WikiLeaks is to move beyond the arrangement with the five newspapers currently involved, and to partner with other news organisations who can highlight stories of particular interest to specific regions. We hope that, if so, it is done with due care to anything that might jeopardise individuals or sensitive ongoing operations. The process of editing, contextualising, explanation and redaction is a painstaking one. It is part of the craft of journalism. Journalism is also about disclosure. It is at its best when it is the disclosure of matters of high public interest. Judge Assange on that score, as much as any other.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    After the jailing of the two straggler DGSE agents Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur the Listener reported that Mafart had taken a subscription to the magazine, but only for six months, implying that he didn't expect to serve anything like his full ten-year sentence.

    What a bizzarre conclusion to draw, unless you work for The Listener I suppose, and the idea of living in the country for nine and a half years without subscribing to the magazine seems inconceivable. Perhaps he thought "I'll give this a crack for six months and see if it's worth renewing. Just in the off chance they install an editor that is too right wing even for me, a French secret agent prone to murdering lefties."

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    It was a long time ago Giovanni, and while I'm unable to quote chapter and verse my memory is fairly clear because it seemed significant at the time. By way of context, the Listener was at that time a state-owned rag of a progressive persuasion, and the mention of Major Mafart's subscription was presented mischievously, in a context somewhat like the Herald's current Sideswipe. The piece ended, to the best of my recollection, with the speculation that maybe Mafart knew something that the rest of us didn't.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Few things I enjoy more than reading old Listeners and other magazines from before I came to New Zealand, and the Eighties in particular. I miss a lot of the subtleties but the writing was very good - didn't realise the magazine was still state owned at the time though.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I'm pretty sure that the Listener wasn't flicked off to (I think) Wilson & Horton until the end of the 80s. Russell will know. The Warwick Roger-era Metro used to fulminate against what it saw as an unfairly subsidised encroachment on its turf. The view from Auckland back then was that a tiny cabal of Wadestown liberals wielded a disproportionate influence, and the Listener, operating from redecorated offices in a state services warren in Thorndon, was their Pravda.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Hmmm, no-one else is a SuperScrabble addict here, I take it?
    3 whanau & self have played Scrabble for more than 40 years: we've scrapped the regular game for SS - deelctable 2/1/2 to 3 hour games! Best scores to date - 292 for a single word (my mother on a triple quadrupled) best number of 7s - my sister & self 7 each (mind you, we did 2 consecutive 7s each, opening a game of ordinary Scrabble.)
    I'll shut up now.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Rob S,

    Except - Rob S - the latest edition of Scrabble includes personal names...as does my other favourite addiction - codewords/codecrackers/codebreaks...Islander who spends waaaay too much enjoyable time playing with words-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The broader plan of WikiLeaks is to move beyond the arrangement with the five newspapers currently involved, and to partner with other news organisations who can highlight stories of particular interest to specific regions.

    That seems to be been the case for a while. The SMH has had access to regional stuff for at least the past week, including that Indonesian cable I linked above and the one where Gillard was found to have been scheming Rudd's departure far earlier than she had admitted/claimed pre election.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Islander,

    Hmmm, no-one else is a SuperScrabble addict here, I take it?

    Not sure how SuperScrabble works, but with my friends back home we had fashioned our own version, by merging two boards together and using the letters from both sets. Much fun.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 13 14 15 16 17 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.