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Anatomy of a lie

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 pm, May 5th, 2011 - 158 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags: , ,

When the news of Hone Harawira’s “support for Osama Bin Laden” broke in the Herald I was suspicious of it – there was no byline on the story and it wasn’t on the front page. Surely such a revelation would be headline news and surely the journo that covered it would want to claim such a cracker story as their own. And why did it take two days between Hone saying it and the Herald picking it up. The whole thing had a sense of a cautious editorial decision.

My gut feeling was there was context missing and that it had the feel of research unit work. Especially as Matthew Hooton has been touting a similar line about Annette Sykes (I asked him about the rumours he’s working for Brash – so far he’s not denied it [Matthew has confirmed he's not working for Brash]).

Then I saw the video. My first impression was Hone was saying we shouldn’t be celebrating a man’s death in his usual roundabout way.

One of our commenters described it this way:

I just watched the clip http://tvnz.co.nz/te-karere/video [it's about two thirds in] – it turns out the full quote was “they [bin laden's family] mourn for a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”.

It seemed to me he was talking about the way Bin Laden’s family would have thought of Bin Laden.

Whatever was going on it was pretty clear that Hone wasn’t backing Bin Laden just as it was clear that the context of what he said had been altered with the removal of a single word: “they”.

That didn’t stop all of those with a vested interest in discrediting Hone (and some of those without one) from having a go including, to his discredit, Trevor Mallard over on red alert.

By the afternoon the story was whipped up into a frenzy. Which surprised me because it seemed patently clear from the video evidence that what people were claiming Hone meant he hadn’t meant at all. Several commenters here and on other blogs who actually watched the Te Karere video said as much.

I suppose that by then there was enough blood in the water that journos who should have known better felt obliged to report on the story with headlines that misrepresented what Hone said. After all, it fits the “loose cannon” narrative they’re all sold on and perhaps they convinced themselves that the perception was more important than the facts (and perhaps it is). Then when it was nice and juicy Key stepped in.

And now Hone has apologised for the way he said what he said. Not for saying he supported Bin laden (because he never did) but because the power of the lie was so great he probably felt he had to.

Unfortunately this will be represented as confirming the lie.

There’s a couple of lessons in this. One is for the Mana party who have learned the hard way how the echo chamber runs and how watchful they will have to be.

The other is for the journalists and the pundits: there will be a lot of this over the next seven months. If you buy into this dirty game like you have with Hone you will be doing yourselves and democracy a huge disservice.

I should note two more things: I’m not a great supporter of Hone, I like the left politics Mana espouses but I’ve had a bit to do with a few of the people in his team (as I’ve had a bit to do with a lot of political operators across the spectrum) and I’m not confident they have what it takes to put any weight into their vision. That they’ve let their guard down like this doesn’t change that.

I’m also disappointed in the opportunism show by Trevor Mallard in this matter. He’s the man running Labour’s campaign and for him to make the fundamental mistake of assuming his enemy’s enemy is his friend is amateur – the right wing echo chamber he threw in with on this will be used against Labour this year and today he helped make it a little more powerful.

In politics you’ve got to take your lumps because life isn’t fair but frankly the whole debacle has left a bad taste in my mouth.

158 comments on “Anatomy of a lie”

  1. Anthony 1

    Even the way the herald and stuff reported the quotes underlined the lie…

    Both papers placed his quotes out of chronological order to create a further perception of support for Bin Laden.

  2. higherstandard 2

    I still think the most bizarre things he’s said is the repeated assertions that Brash is like Hitler, he need to engage his brain before opening the mouth.

    If he wrote and talked about more stuff like this

    http://hone.co.nz/2011/04/20/an-anzac-story-for-all-new-zealanders/

    he might attract less opprobrium.

    • IrishBill 2.1

      Agreed. I think he’s using the Hitler stuff to get coverage but it’s still not the smartest move.

  3. deemac 3

    “not the smartest move”?? it’s offensive! not to Brash of course (he can look after himself) but to Hitler’s victims. In the US or UK Hone would now be toast after that comment.
    All in all, Hone’s foolish behaviour just underlines that the idea that he is cut out to be the leader of a serious political party is a complete non-starter.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      You’re right he’d be a better leader if he was like Don Brash, John Key, Phil Goff, Pita Sharples, Tariana Turia or Peter Dunne.

      Like I said I’m not a supporter of Hone’s but I’m not discounting him from any leadership club that includes this lot.

  4. Scott 4

    People are entitled to take a politician’s words at face value, and most people (on both left and right) were appalled by what Harawira said. He may not have meant what came out of his mouth, but they were the words he chose. Plenty of people on the left were appalled by what he said – not just the usual suspects on the right.

    The fact that Hone continues to have these brain explosions speaks volumes. Even his most ardent supporters must be shaking their heads. Leader of a parliamentary party? God help us all. I am now beginning to have some sympathy for Phil Goff for ruling him out of any deal.

    • felix 4.1

      Do you mean take a politician’s words at face value?

      Or do you mean take the Herald’s paraphrasing and editing of those words at face value?

      Because your comment suggests to me that you don’t realise how different those two things are in this instance.

    • Alwyn 4.2

      The funniest part of Hone’s interview at the weekend was when he was talking about the 90 day bill.
      He claimed that if Don Brash had his way it would become a 60 day bill and then a 30 day bill.
      Funny, but from the left’s pont of view a 60 day instead of 90 period would have to be better and a 30 day period would be better again. Still we can’t expect much in the way of logic from someone who can seriously compare Don Brash with Hitler!

      • Vicky32 4.2.1

        Funny, but from the left’s pont of view a 60 day instead of 90 period would have to be better and a 30 day period would be better again.

        Er, Alwyn, how do you work that out?

         

        • Alwyn 4.2.1.1

          Think about it.
          If you had a 30 day period for a trial you would, if you lasted that long, have the right to claim unfair dismissal if you then lost your job. ie You could only be dismissed in the first 30 days, not the first 90 days.
          In fact you can say that what the Left is really after is a ZERO day bill. I don’t think that Hone got as far as saying that what Don would introduce is a zero day bill but he might have. I can’t really be bothered looking at the whole program again to check.

  5. Terry 5

    I left a comment on Yahoo Xtra, which can be referred to if they published this. I thought Hone’s remarks were clearly not supporting personally the very bad bin Laden. I have always detested bin Laden. But I also believe in the sanctity of every human life (yes, even Muslims – they are human beings too!)
    I am so tired of seeing and hearing 99% American versions of what happened to accompany their indecent smirking and gloating. Justice is essential and good, plain vengeance is another matter. Hone I thought was very discerning and for that matter “pastoral”, all accompanied by his fearless and honest opinion. I do not know what he was apologising for – because he showed himself a caring human being for a man with people who loved him?
    Key’s utterances were typically deplorable.
    By no means do I make the slightest connection, but feel constrained to look at Christ (to vast numbers bin Laden could have been be likened to a Christ-like Saviour). Jesus at least received some semblance of a charge laid against him and a mockery of a trial. Osama bin Laden was murdered (clearly unarmed and passive), without getting to hear any charge laid, he could have been arrested and did not have even that opportunity, and most certainly he was executed without standing trial (even Hussain was permitted these rights).
    The voice of the Islamic world is muted, a common effect of great shock and grief. We will never get the real facts, but mistake not silence for acceptance. Better that they do speak rather than deliver the actions they are sure, in their own time, to take.
    Meanwhile plotting and ordering assassination has not blotted the name of Obama, it has ensured his popularity and victory at the election next year. It appears that he is learning new lessons from George Bush. I greatly disliked bin Laden, but I dislike also the absence of true justice and the nasty gloatings of vengeance which might next be taken on Assange? Hone there a more than a few who stand by you. You gave not a hint that you admired bin Laden for any evil things to his account.

  6. ianmac 6

    Thanks Irish Bill for your post. The twisting of truth was at least sad, and I would have thought that in the name of fair play, there would have been a bit more circumspection in the story. And to think that even many on the Left were gullible! And Trevor. Shame!

  7. So even Ill Duce or Franco or Milosovitch loved their families and did what they thought was right. We don’t have to like these people they were mass murderers.

    I think if more people in NZ took a holiday on the Gaza Strip they would get what Honi is saying.

    He hasn’t said anything offensive, it’s the fascist media trying to paint him black.

    I wish him all the luck, but that’s not going to be enough, he is going to have to be carefull, steer clear from mid-east issues until November election.

  8. Jim in Tokyo 8

    Stuff.co.nz also went back and edited their own story during the day to obscure the fact that they misquoted Harawira.

    Initially they reported that Harawira said we should ‘celebrate Bin Laden’s life’. 336 frenzied comments later, they closed comments then went back and changed the line in question to ‘celebrate life’.

    Throughout, they did not quote Harawira but rather chose to paraphrase him in an intentionally misleading and inflammatory way.

    I guess they figured the average stuff reader wouldn’t actually bother to watch the original Maori Television clip at the top of the page, and by in large they were right.

    • stargazer 8.1

      surely there’s plenty of scope for a press council complaint against both of these papers? as well as other media who have failed to report accurately.

    • Jenny 8.2

      Jim in Tokyo

      Stuff.co.nz also went back and edited their own story during the day to obscure the fact that they misquoted Harawira.

      Jim your observation that Stuff went back to re-edit their lie after the fact is very telling.

      This alteration reminded me so strongly of the work of the ‘Ministry of Truth’, the fictional workplace of the George Orwell character Winston in the famous novel ’1984′.

      Winston’s job at the Ministry of Truth was to go back to old news clippings and “correct” them. This was a fairly involved process meaning the actual hard copy archives had to be accessed and retyped, the original then having to be burnt in furnaces in the basement, of the building.

      George Orwell obviously had not imagined the invention of the internet and the desktop computer where the work of the ‘Ministry of Truth’ could be done electronically with just a few key strokes.

      I have often thought that the novel ’1984′ was written as a warning by Orwell to his fellow journalists.

      I would advise all those involved in this ‘work’ to reread this old novel, and if they are able, hang their heads in shame.

  9. They had this so called death a mouth to late, it should have been on the 1st April, what with all the fools that believe it ffs.
    You are the supposedly most wanted man in the world, living miles away from any recognised helicopter flight paths, then not only do 2 or 3 of them fly to, and then hover over your house, but one crashes and burns in your backyard … then some thugs blow a hole in your wall run up stairs and you are still sitting in or near your bed? Then they take your dead body 800 miles and drop you in the ocean. There must be a beer ad in this?

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      It’s pretty simple, Robert. Either Osama is dead, and in the ocean, or he’s in American custody in a prison cell somewhere. It doesn’t really matter either way.

      He is certainly not alive and free somewhere – he would simply pop up in a new video, and show the US to be huge liars.

      You’re also acting like this was some routine helicopter run and they just took a side trip out to take Osama out on the way, which is frankly, bizarre.

    • Drakula 9.2

      How convenient it is for them to dump Bin Ladin’s body in the ocean, for all we know he could be still alive or he could have died even before the 9/11 attack.

      The CIA definately knew that there was a threat to those towers (Mike Moore) but just sat on the information.

      Wouldn’t that make them just as culpable as Bin Ladin? Maybe this is a subject for a seperate post.

      In the case of Hone’s misquote or blatant lie, the journalist involved should be disciplined, but then again how can they be disciplined if the rot is at a higher level?

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        BTW when you look at footage of the three large World Trade Centre buildings which came down on 9/11, all of them collapsed neatly and vertically on to their ground floor foot prints, minimising damage to nearby buildings.

        That pattern of structural disintegration also happens to be a characteristic of structures destroyed via carefully engineered controlled demolitions.

  10. Samuel Hill 10

    Well said Irish. Been saying this stuff about Harawira too. Mana is a Maori Socialist party, essentially with the same kind of image as a Maori Greens. The more people pick on Mana as to why it needs to be a Maori Party, the more they will find it hard to defend themselves. This is a Maori party trying to come across as a party for more than just Maoris, but will they campaign for General Electorate votes too? They are being attacked by a General electorate media. It isn’t just Maori voters watching you when you go on shows like Close Up. They are only a small party and it is silly for them to try and contest Maori seats and other Electorate seats.

    • felix 10.1

      Samuel,

      The bulk of this post is pretty much saying the exact opposite of what you’ve been saying about Hone today.

      This post is about how a horrible nasty lie has been spread.

      You’ve been helping to spread that lie today Samuel. Only an hour and a half before your comment here, you were busy spreading the lie.

      I’m starting to look sideways at you.

      • Samuel Hill 10.1.1

        Am I not allowed to attack both Mana and ACT? Is there some kind of contradiction in being a centrist?

        I have told you my point of view. You are very defensive about it. I am saying that I don’t care that Osama Bin Laden is dead, he deserves to be hung up for what he did. I don’t care about a trial for people like him. If it had been one of my own family killed on September 11, I would have probably wanted to hunt him down myself, despite my political understanding of Bin Laden’s Jihad on America.

        I have watched the video, and it doesn’t change my opinion, or my senses I get from Hone Harawira. Even if it is the traditional Maori view to say that we should not speak about the dead, or to only remember the good things in life about the dead, I don’t really care about that because MY personal beliefs hold that those things in the context of Osama Bin Laden are wrong. Now if this is Hone using his being Maori to hoax some extreme left wing people into his party, I am a little worried about a guy who puts bait out there like that. He certainly isn’t going to be pulling any centrists. If the leader of the National Party or Labour Party said these kind of things, I would suspect there would be some very interesting phone calls being made from certain countries.

        [lprent: Your opinion is one thing that the site generally doesn't care about. However felix is pulling you up on your assertion of a fact about what Hone actually said. Support it or withdraw it. And read the policy. ]

        • felix 10.1.1.1

          So what?

          What you’ve been doing is misquoting and pretending that Hone said things he never said, and I still haven’t seen you acknowledge that yet.

          Very dishonest behaviour, Samuel.

          • Samuel Hill 10.1.1.1.1

            felix..

            What I did was quote the 3 news story which said that Hone Harawira said we should “honour” Osama Bin Laden. Now I will admit that haven’t found a direct quote of him even using the word honour, but I told you when I posted the story that it wasn’t me adding in the quotation marks. If this is bad behaviour I apologize for that.

            What I have found is a quote from Harawira saying that we should “acknowledge the positive aspects of life” in regard to Osama Bin Laden. That doesn’ change my opinion I already have of Harawira over sevral years watching him on television and in the media.

            [lprent: The short answer is that as far as I can see from the discussion he never said that he 'honoured" him. If you want to repeat your assertion when challenged then you have to substantiate your assertion of fact with a link to something reputable. If you cannot then you will stop repeating it because as far as I'm concerned that would be a flamewar starter (see the policy).

            What you have replied with here is an argument against bad journalism (the point that Irish was making), another quote without a link, and a clearly stated opinion. The latter appears to be the only thing you're expressing. ]

            • felix 10.1.1.1.1.1

              And again, I’m not challenging your opinion. On anything.

              I’m just challenging your repetition of the lie. The one the post is about.

              So opinion away, have a big opinion party and invite all your opinions around for some opinion pie if you like. BUT when you use proven lies and pretend that they’re facts to give weight to your opinions, people are likely to point that out.

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1.2

              What I did was quote the 3 news story which said that Hone Harawira said we should “honour” Osama Bin Laden.

              Perpetrating someone else’s lie is still lying.

              Defending yourself doing that takes it one step further.

            • Samuel Hill 10.1.1.1.1.3

              Here is the 3 News link from the original story I quoted.

              http://www.3news.co.nz/Hone-Harawira-Bin-Laden-fought-for-freedom/tabid/419/articleID/209839/Default.aspx

              I have already apologised for using what appears to be a misquote. I can’t find any footage of Harawira using the word “honoured”.

              Here is another quote though, and for all you people silly enough to think that I am an ACT Troll, the location of the link should cause you some delight:

              From the NBR:

              http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/bin-laden-freedom-fighter-harawira-nn-92331

              “We have heard nothing but negative things about him from the Americans, but he fought for the self-determination of his people and for his beliefs,” Mr Harawira said.

              “Indeed despite what the media has said, his family, his tribe, his people are in mourning. They mourn for the man who fought for the rights, the lands and the freedom of his people. We should not damn them in death but acknowledge the positive aspects of life.”

              I don’t agree with these comments. I don’t think Osama Bin Laden should be showed any respect, just as I don’t think he should be honoured. This adds to my opinion I already of Hone Harawira. Anyone who makes these kind of comments is either very misguided, or trying to get ignorant people to vote for them. I don’t like that.

              Does that cover everything?

              [lprent: I think that you have mistaken the intent of my warning. If I see another instance of you squirming and bullshitting when pulled up on a statement of fact, you'll earn a ban. I really don't care about your excuses or who are. I expect people commenting here to comply when warned, or offer an explanation about why they were doing what they did, or leave - not excuses. If I have to expend to much time moderating then I will ban for that as well.

              Moderators opinion about what is acceptable behavior counts here. Your opinion (or anyone elses) about what is acceptable behavior is just irrelevant waffle. Does that clarify things for you? ]

              • Samuel Hill

                So what, I can’t even debate? I think you already have your opinion made up that you don’t like what I have to say. Squirming and bullshitting? Wow. I didn’t realise coming to an understanding with somebody else as to what their problem with what I had to say was squirming and bullshitting. I completely accept that I made an error and apologised. But now that I pull out some information that supports my feelings on the BIG PICTURE, I get threatened with a ban?

                I guess if I said fuck the police or wanted to have a tangi for Osama Bin Laden it would be fine though?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Interesting you think that you “perpetrating lies” = “debate”. Definitely reckon you are a NACT supporter tasked with undermining Hone.

                • Samuel Hill

                  What I’m essentially being told now is that I am not allowed to partake in the debate even after retracting statements I made using what I did not know at the time was false information.

                  After reading your comments I made a clearer argument and used links as was requested and will do in the future.

                  But I guess even challenging authority here will probably get me banned. I hope I am wrong.

                  [lprent: Making a clear retraction is required. Trying to divert onto another topic does not constitute a retraction. As you say - state it clearly and I don't have to waste my time as a moderator.

                  Of course challenging 'authority' here will certainly get you banned, because the moderators define what is acceptable behavior here. You will be wasting our time, and that is a cardinal offense. A moments thought will tell you why.

                  Remember the site is manned by volunteers who write posts, moderate, and do all of the scut work that is required to keep the site running. We're doing this in our own time, and the last thing we need is some half-arsed know-it-all chewing up our time by trying to tell us how we should be running our site. We've been running it for nearly 4 years and know exactly what tends to work and what doesn't (as reflected in the rising site stats). One part of that is that moderators don't waste too much time arguing with people who indulge themselves in behavior that gets them a ban.

                  Quite simply we make the rules that are followed because we are the ones doing the work and you are a guest. If you don't like it then go elsewhere or start your own blog. But if you are a guest here then you will follow our less than onerous standards of behavior and don't waste our time on something you can read in the about or the policy. ]

                  • felix

                    Nah, being a dick will probably get you banned.

                    I never saw you retract anything. In fact long after it was patiently explained and carefully shown by way of videos and links that you were repeating lies, you were still doing the same thing but with a slightly altered phrasing.

                    In fact, Samuel, in your comment just above, with the links, you’re still trying to tie Hone to the idea of honouring Bin Laden.

                    Absorb this:

                    I’ve read Samuel’s comments. What sort of disgusting person would hate children? I don’t hate children. It all just adds to my opinion of Samuel Hill.

                    That’s what you’re doing now.

                    Seems like for quite a long time everyone tried to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were misinformed, but the trouble is that even when you had to have known that, you carried on misinforming.

                    Note: no-one has criticised your ability to express opinions or state facts. But don’t try your bullshit on me Sam.

                    • Samuel Hill

                      Well done, you’re putting two and two together now felix..

                      a)I don’t check this page every 5 minutes, nor the news. When you urged me to watch the videos etc yesterday, I did. And I have admitted several times that I was wrong to quote the TV 3 article.. When are you going to accept that? I will say it again. I WAS WRONG TO USE IT. SORRY.

                      b)You are on the right track as to why I posted the NBR link with the actual quote. I am not using it to show that Harawira REALLY DOES SUPPORT OSAMA. No, I don’t believe that. I used the link to show that Hone was not scathing of Bin Laden, and in his initial answers on Te Karere, I think he was more or less pandering to far-left, anti-US voters.

                      Ofcourse supporting Bin Laden and refusing to vilify him on his death are two completely different things. I do realise that. My point is that I don’t find Harawiras comments were the comments of somebody who I want to be in power in this country. If he had any type of knowledge as to what average kiwis think, he would have realised he was making a mistake with those comments. Thats why he had to apologise.

                      The fact that he HAD TO APOLOGISE over the remarks he made, remarks I think he made not based on his opinion, but on his desire to appeal to voters outside the mainstream, shows to me a lack of class. If he had of just said, “Bin Laden did some terrible things, but I don’t think we should celebrate anybodys death” Then he wouldn’t be in this situation of him having to apologise.

                      Thats all I am saying.

                      Do you understand that? Please tell me you do.

                    • felix

                      But that’s not all you’ve been saying Samuel. See my previous comment.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Samuel Hill doesn’t check The Standard every 5 minutes but has posted here, what dozens of times in the last few days?

                      “Yeah right”.

                      A NACTer tasked with taking Hone down.

                    • higherstandard

                      Jees CV do you really think NACT want Hone to be taken down ?

                      Really ?

                      I’d think their view is that Mana and hone are heaven sent.

                    • Samuel Hill

                      Hahaha. Thats all you’ve got to cling onto isn’t in Colonial Viper?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No what I have to cling too is frakin hot, babelicious and rich.

                      You’re just a hobby

  11. Rodel 11

    Shame on Trevor. You should just roll over, respect and accept Harawira’s rants. Bullshit!
    No Good for you Trev! Harawaia is your opposition, and a bullshit artist like Brash, Key and Co.

    Get stuck into him and ridicule his nonsense which is as stupid as Brash’s crap, English’s deceit and Keys duplicity.
    The Labour party needs the Mallards of this world. Show a bit of gumption Labour. Then people might vote for you.
    Is this a Mana party website or wot?

  12. Lanthanide 12

    It would be nice for the Johnny-come-lately media to actually investigate the original claim, and then report on that, rather than just copying what other media have said.

    Imagine what it would be like if TV3 ran a story saying “news media biased: Hone doesn’t worship Osama”.

  13. Sanctuary 13

    Another post yesterday here on the Wikileaks cables quoted an American diplomat remarking on our media’s “excessive fondness of political novelty” – a polite way of saying they are feckless and lazy. Given that, how can anyone, least of all Hone Harawira, not have guessed what they would focus on when he made those statements? There is no need for a plot against the left or against Maori. A lazy, ratings driven media is all you need.

    • IrishBill 13.1

      But it’s helped along by some very hardworking and well organised operators on the right (and some stupid mistakes from the likes of Harawira).

  14. PeteG 14

    Why then has Harawira apologised with:

    “Using terror for political reasons is never acceptable. I apologise for how I expressed myself.”

    And on this corrected quote:

    “they [bin laden's family] mourn for a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”

    and “pursued independence for his people, his family and his tribe”.

    There is no indication Hone is in a position to quote on behalf of bin Laden’s family, so this must be his own views on bin Laden as a freedom fighter, as Hone views himself.

    I still agree with Morgan Godfery…

    As I said, Hone does not lack control. This was not a random comment. It was a statement of genuine belief and a foolish one at that. If anything sinks the Mana Party it will be these sorts of deformed views – it will not be lack of discipline and control.

  15. felix 15

    “There is no indication Hone is in a position to quote on behalf of bin Laden’s family”

    Which he didn’t do.

    “so this must be his own views on bin Laden as a freedom fighter, as Hone views himself.

    Except that it’s explicitly not. Duh. Who refers to himself as “they” you moron?

    • PeteG 15.1

      Saying “they mourn” is a presumption, I guess it depends on what members of bin Laden’s family Hone is making the presumption for. Bin Laden has 20 known children with 5 wives. He had 54 known siblings. Difficult to talk for all of them, especially when you don’t know any of them.

      There is no indication that any of bin Laden’s family thought he “fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”. So that must Harawira’s view on it – unless he or you can show otherwise.

      • felix 15.1.1

        I can show otherwise by pointing to the fucking words on the page – it’s quite clearly Hone’s presumption of the Bin Laden family’s views, no argument there.

        Perhaps they’re actually your views Pete. After all I don’t have any proof they’re not.

        • PeteG 15.1.1.1

          So yes, obviously it’s what Harawira thinks, or at least what he wanted to say.
          It is not a known view of anyone from the many in the bin Laden family.

          I didn’t say it and it’s not my view at all, you’re getting a bit desperate.

          • felix 15.1.1.1.1

            Pete you’ve said twice now that because Hone presumes to know what the Bin Laden family are thinking, he must in fact be thinking the same thing he presumes they’re thinking.

            By that “reasoning” (and I do hesitate to call it that) if I say “Pete George blows goats and really, really likes it” does that somehow prove that actually I blow goats and really like it?

            I’d love to hear why you think that’s not the exact same argument you’re using.

            • PeteG 15.1.1.1.1.1

              There’s a major difference.

              You have absolutely no reason to link me with goats, so you either made it up completely or you personally have something with goats.

              I think there is a widespread recognition that Harawira was projecting his own ideas of himself onto the bin Laden family. It is not just me who thinks that. Harawira (or his strategists) seems to have recognised he erred, he has apologised. And I’ll repeat a quote from Morgan Godfer above:

              As I said, Hone does not lack control. This was not a random comment. It was a statement of genuine belief and a foolish one at that.

              • felix

                Doesn’t alter anything.

                Here’s what I’m disputing: You said “So that must [be] Harawira’s view on it

                A statement for which you have no basis whatsoever unless you use my “goats” reasoning.

                Please try again.

                • PeteG

                  It must be his view, he said it, “– unless he or you can show otherwise” – the bit of my statement you have omitted from your quote. Do you think it wasn’t his view?

                  I think you’re being a bit of a goat about your “reasoning”.

                  • felix

                    It must be his view, he said it

                    It’s his view that it’s someone else’s view. That’s not the same thing as it being his view at all.

                    You’re still using my “goat” reasoning to the letter.

                    You’re saying that anything someone says about someone else automatically applies to them as well. This makes no sense whatsoever.

                    Please try again without the goat reasoning.

                    • PeteG

                      Suffering a bit of Fridayitis felix?

                      Dispute it if you like, but I think it is fairly general knowledge that Harawira sees himself as someone who fights “for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”.

                      He said the bin Laden family mourn – probably some of them at least do that – for “for a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people””.

                      So Harawira said (and presumably thinks) bin Laden “fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people””.

                      Harawira’s view of himself and his view of bin Laden appear to correlate. So it’s a reasonable assumption to make that it is his view on both counts. Don’t distract yourelf with your goat obsession, just see it as it is, it’s quite simple.

                    • lprent []

                      I’d agree with felix. You are using a goat screwing argument.

                      I usually refer to it as a “1 + 1 = 11″ argument beloved of such illogical thinkers as Whaleoil, Wishart and evidentially now yourself. This is because you leap to an unjustified conclusion based on the similarity of objects. This may be the basis of sympathetic magic and the current highest levels of right wing thought (eg Trump), but I just find it idiotic in the extreme.

                    • felix.

                      I think Pete is very subtly trying to let us know that he believes all the things he assumes Hone does.

                      It’s all that Straussian esoteric writing business.

                      That ‘just see it as it is’, for example, is a dead give away.

                    • felix

                      So this is what we have so far:

                      a) Pete thinks Hone believes (x)

                      b) Hone States that he believes someone else thinks (x)

                      c) Therefore Hone must also believe (x)

                      If there’s a step I’m missing, Pete, please point it out would you?

                      edit: P’s b I think that might be it. After all he has repeated Hone’s statement a few times so I guess that means he agrees with it.

                    • ianmac

                      PeteG says he has a comb. A rooster has a comb. Therefore Pete is a rooster. Simple.

                    • PeteG

                      a) Pete thinks Hone believes (x)

                      That’s the bit you seem to be struggling with (or pretending to struggle with). Are you really suggesting I’m the only one who thinks that?

                      If you can understand that many people think something like that you might start to get it. I’ll put it in your sort of language:

                      a) Many people think Hone believes (x).

                      Then it’s not a huge step to:

                      c) Therefore Hone may probably also believe (x)

                    • wtl

                      a) Many people think Hone believes (x).

                      Then it’s not a huge step to:

                      c) Therefore Hone may probably also believe (x)

                      Very good logic. Lets all use that logic and go back to the goats example. I think PeteG likes goats (see above). All those who think the same, please add your comments here. If ‘many’ people think that we will have:

                      c) Therefore PeteG may probably like goats

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      I’ve noticed people recently talking about PeteG’s unsavoury obsession with goats. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. That’s just simple logic.

                    • PeteG

                      wtl – there’s a major flaw in your attempt at a mass attack. It’s obvious that no one has any idea of my views on goats, apart from felix acting like billy. And you know what Harawira is well known for.

                      felix, you’ll have to try a bit harder, lp has not come in black so you can deliver you closing lecture under cover.

                      lp – do you really think that “Harawira sees himself as fighting for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people” it an unjustified conclusion?

                      Here’s some more from Morgan:

                      It is not that Hone lacks discipline, he is not shooting from the hip, he genuinely believes that Osama Bin Laden is freedom fighter. I am no expert on the subject, but others more qualified than I have indicated that he was not – he was in fact a cruel and oppressive man with warped religious notions. Osama did not believe in freedom in the proper sense of the word.

                      This is Hone’s most significant problem. He is supremely confident in his beliefs, but some of his beliefs are built upon romantic and ultimately fallacious notions. Hone Harawira immediately equates the underdog, the perceived anti-western/anti-colonial fighter with something good.

                      He equated bin Laden’s fight with his romantic notion of his own.

                    • felix

                      Dearest Pete, no-one said you were the only one.

                      But now you’re back to plain old begging the question. You can’t use a lie in the Herald to prove itself because a bunch of people believed it was true.

                      Also, you’ve mentioned goats quite a few times today. There’s obviously more to this Pete/goat connection than I first thought.

                      Obviously.

                    • billy goat

                      Speaking on behalf of NZ goats, I can confirm we have no interest in the advances of Pete G.

                    • wtl

                      I wasn’t really calling for a mass attack, but rather pointing out the absurdity of your logic. If you feel threatened, you should have another look at your logic – you are basically saying that if enough people believe that y thinks x, then it is probably true that y thinks x. Is that fair? Judge for yourself.

                      I don’t know you personally, neither do I know Harawira. All I can go by is what I see/read. The only reason you think Harawira thinks x is because of the reports in the MSM (unless I am mistaken and you know him personally). The same with comments about you. All I can go by are comments here. Yes, you have never said that you like goats. But neither did Harawira really say what was attributed to him. Yet somehow because it is reported in the media that Harawira thinks x, then it is true? Perhaps then, the only real flaw in my comment is that there isn’t a story in the MSM saying that PeteG likes goats (even if it is untrue). If there was, then more people would believe it, which, by your logic would make it true.

                    • felix

                      “It’s obvious that no one has any idea of my views on goats, apart from felix acting like billy.”

                      Not so, Pete. In fact there’s a growing consensus around your goat-related activities.

                      ianmac mentioned that you might be a cock, and I’m not sure what that means but it’s all farmyard-related, isn’t it?

                    • PeteG

                      It’s obvious you’re running out of flawed argument when you resort to that. Trying the direct flame approach and see if that works?

                      no-one said you were the only one.

                      If you concede I’m not the only one and that there may be many others it blows your wee game away a bit, doesn’t it.

                    • lprent

                      Ummm looks like goat friday to me… Follows the week after good friday.

                    • PeteG

                      You’re kidding, Good Friday was two weeks ago.

                    • felix

                      “If you concede I’m not the only one and that there may be many others it blows your wee game away a bit, doesn’t it.”

                      No, because I think you and others are wrong together.

                      Durr.

  16. the sprout 16

    great post – thanks for writing this Irish.
    it helps a lot to know there are still a few sane, skeptical people out there.

    Mallard’s post on Red Alert really underscored what an embittered has-been arsehole he’s become.

  17. Daveo 17

    Looks like the lie is becoming a diplomatic incident now. Well done liars you’ve really done us all proud as a nation now.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4970392/Harawiras-bin-Laden-comments-hit-Pakistan

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Yeah the MSM liars didn’t look that far ahead.

      Now it’s taken a life of it’s own, as these things do, and threatens NZ’s reputation.

    • higherstandard 17.2

      Hone has no one to blame but himself, he should think twice before he opens his mouth – this is just another example in a long list of his fuck ups which suggests he’s a combination of a bit of a thickee and a stirrer.

      • felix 17.2.1

        Kind of yeah.

        It was dumb* enough that he said what he did say, but that doesn’t give the media a license to make up other shit and pretend he said that too.

        *unless this is what he wanted in which case not** so dumb.

        **unless “what he wanted” was a dumb idea all along, in which case refer to the start of this comment.

        • ianmac 17.2.1.1

          Hone reached the Pakistan and Brit news but they print his words without a slant that our MSM put on it. And I think that there is a certain amount of support for his position even when misrepresented.

          • PeteG 17.2.1.1.1

            Do you support the position he took on bin Laden Ian?

            The position he then apologised for?

            • felix 17.2.1.1.1.1

              Those are two different things Pete.

              1. As I understand it he apologised for the way he expressed his opinion, and

              2. as you’re demonstrating on the other thread you have a very different idea of what his “position” was than I do.

              You’re asking whether I agree with something that I’m not at all certain exists, and even if it does I may define it differently to you. So there’s no possible answer to that really.

              If you sort out a straight question I’d be happy to give you a straight answer.

            • Puddleglum 17.2.1.1.1.2

              PeteG,

              I have a slightly different take on this than Felix. I think, for good reasons, that Hone may well (indeed should) believe that Bin Laden was “a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”. It would be curious to believe otherwise since the evidence is almost overwhelming that that is exactly why Bin Laden was fighting.

              Here’s my view of Bin Laden, his beliefs, Bin Laden’s family’s beliefs (I know, there’s lots of them and they probably have different beliefs) and your beliefs about Hone’s beliefs.

              Judging by numerous releases (videos, recordings, statements, etc.) that appear to have come from Osama Bin Laden, I have every reason to believe that Bin Laden himself believed he was fighting a ‘good’ fight which, at least in part, involved liberating Saudi Arabia and Muslim’s in general (i.e., ‘freeing’ them) so that they could live Muslim lives in their lands without being dominated by foreigners.

              It also seems reasonable to believe that a number of members of Bin Laden’s family supported him (some of them were in his ‘compound’, some were his children, etc.). Therefore, it also seems reasonable that at least some of them believed what he believed – that he was fighting for freedom and to liberate ‘his people’, etc..

              When Bin Laden died, those same family members would, I believe, have mourned for him (they were family, after all). Part of that mourning was, therefore, for someone who was understood, by himself and by them, to be fighting for freedom for his people and for their lands.

              So, when Hone said that “they [bin laden's family] mourn for a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people” and “pursued independence for his people, his family and his tribe” this seems extraordinarily accurate, even a truism, unless we assume that Bin Laden’s motives were not genuine.

              But, once again, from his recordings, writings, etc. Bin Laden seemed pretty genuine about being motivated by concern for the ‘rights, land and freedom of his people’. Unless we have some conspiracy that Bin Laden was some sort of CIA agent provocateur then those do seem to be his motives. Of course, we might think that the means by which he chose to pursue those ends were grotesque and utterly unjustified but that doesn’t change what appears to be the fact that some such motivation was driving him.

              I’d agree that Hone was unwise to voice these almost self-evident truths because it would have been obvious that his political opponents – and those who have no sympathy with his other views concerning Maori sovereignty – would try to imply that his words were evidence for, not only that Hone believed that Bin Laden was motivated by such motives (as, quite obviously, were the Saudis on the planes, the London underground bombers, etc.) but also that he approved of the means by which Bin Laden pursued them. That’s one reason why politicians are routinely afraid to voice self-evident truths – they often go against some myth or other that has hold of the public imagination, for various reasons.

              Hone’s opponents (e.g., you) may genuinely believe that Hone does approve of the means Bin Laden used but Hone’s actions (e.g., becoming an MP rather than, for example, trying to organise a guerilla army) suggest that he is not himself predisposed to use those means. In other words, I can’t see the evidence from Hone’s actions that he would approve of Bin Laden’s means. Do you have such evidence?

              To try to clarify my argument here’s a starter for 10, PeteG: Do you think Bin Laden thought that he was fighting for the ‘rights, the land and the freedom of his people’?

              If ‘yes’, then you agree entirely with Hone’s comments quoted above. If ‘no’, then you must have some evidence that Bin Laden’s motives were not those he expressed, and that Bin Laden was either unaware of his true motivation or was part of some deception and had other reasons for his actions.

              • PeteG

                I have no idea what bin Laden’s motivation was over a couple of decades.

                Bin Laden was outspoken against the Saudi government, he was banished and had his passport revoked.

                As a result of his dealings in and advocacy of violent extremist jihad, Osama bin Laden lost his Saudi citizenship in 1994 and was disowned by his billionaire family.

                So he didn’t exactly fight for the “rights, the land and the freedom of his people”. He buggered off to the Sudan and then to Afghanistan, countries of other people. You can debate whether he fought there for those people and their land, or for his own religious ambitions.

                • Bin Laden was obviously concerned at the deployment of US troops in Saudi Arabia. Your quote is from the 9/11 Commission Report. In your link, however, in the section preceding (on Al Qaeda’s formation) you’ll note that the reason given there for his exile was his outspoken criticism of the Saudi government for allowing US troops on Saudi soil (i.e., not because of “his dealings in and advocacy of violent extremist jihad – after all, in Wahabi Saudi Arabia that’s a very common advocacy).

                  It’s also well acknowledged (it appears in many of the tapes purported to be from him) that he supported Palestinians in their attempts to gain statehood and condemned the actions of Israel and presence of the US. Irrespective of your position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it’s clear Bin Laden was advocating Palestinians rights to their land and to be a free people.

                  On the matter of religion, yes he undoubtedly was a very pious man and sees most of the ‘freedom fighting’ occurring in the Muslim world as part of some religious drama. But I don’t see how that is incompatible with him fighting for the “rights, the land adn the freedom of his people” (whether those people be Saudi’s or Muslims in general). After all, many WWII partisans fighting German occupation were committed communists and socialists and probably saw the battle as a political and ideological one (and part of an international and global battle). I don’t think anyone, however, would deny that they were freedom fighters. And, in Spain, the International Brigade were composed of foreigners (so, of course, was the fascist army – Italians and Germans) who were motivated by various values, ideologies and the like. Once again, I don’t think anyone would claim they weren’t fighting for the freedom of Spain and the Spanish people.

                  I really don’t see why advocating jihad somehow means Bin Laden is not someone who fights for “the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”. It’s pretty clear, isn’t it, that in the last couple of decades his main enemy was western power exercised in Muslim lands? He opposed western power dominating, invading and taking over those lands, didn’t he? If ‘yes’, then isn’t it a very simple step to see that he was fighting for rights, land and freedom for ‘his’ people?

                  I think the reason why people think that this would be a terrible thing to ascribe to Bin Laden is that, for some reason, they think that ascribing that motive necessitates ‘respecting’ or ‘approving’ of his means to achieve those rights and freedoms. Obviously it doesn’t. No-one has to concede that he’s a ‘good man’ or that what he did was ‘ok’ just because we acknowledge that he fought for what, in many circumstances, we would see as a good cause. The ‘ends’ might be fine (I, for one, certainly think that western powers – or any powers – should stop interfering in other people’s countries); but there’s still the means to consider.

                  A ‘noble’ end doesn’t give a free moral pass to the means. In fact, in many, if not most, cases, it is the means that determine the overall moral content of someone’s actions, not the end for which they act (or for which they claim to act).

  18. Armchair Worrier 18

    Regardless of whether their was a slight misquotation of Hone’s words his sense is clear – the day that justice was served on the worst terrorist of modern times, he chooses to point out that his family will mourn him as a fighter for ‘the rights, the land and the freedom of his people”. The timing and word choice betray his sympathies.
    This either shows an ignorance of recent history – OBL fought for the restoration of the medieval infidel free caliphate under the most repressive brand of Islam and was inarguably an enthusiast for the removal of the rights, lands and freedom of those who didnt happen to share his warped version of islam, or a deliberate alignment with ANY anti western movement no matter how violent their methods. Then again perhaps its both . ..

  19. Jim in Tokyo 19

    This just gets worse and worse. Did anybody actually watch the video? Obviously not readers of the NBR, otherwise they would have picked up on the fact that the NZPA article is also based on a fabricated quote:

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/bin-laden-freedom-fighter-harawira-nn-92331

    ““We have heard nothing but negative things about him from the Americans, but he fought for the self-determination of his people and for his beliefs,” Mr Harawira said.”

    This was actually word for word a quote from the presenter of the show – Harawira said nothing of the sort. He was actually relatively diplomatic in his response:

    “Indeed, despite what the media have said, his family, his tribe, his people are in mourning. They mourn for the man who fought for the rights, the land, the freedom of his people”.

    As to why he went even this far, he helpfully bookends his comments by explaining TWICE that it is Maori protocol to honour all dead, a point which also got lost in the mainstream media scramble.

    “We should not damn them in death, but acknowledge the positive aspects of life”.

    • Pascal's bookie 19.1

      Now there’s a classy bunch of commenters. A number of folks wishing Hone dead.

      Does Collins know?

  20. Toby Keith 20

    He called him a freedom fighter, Hone deserves all the crap that he is getting from the media and the public, to support that statement your not re4ally grounded in reality.

    • ianmac 20.1

      USA has sharp shooters.
      The enemy have snipers.
      The USA have Freedom Fighters.
      The people fighting invaders in Afghanistan are terrorists.
      The USA suffered 3,000 terrible losses in 9/11.
      Iraq suffered terrible civilian losses in excess of 500,000 but they were just collateral damage.
      USA carries out an extra-judicial assassination in another country.
      Others regard Justice and the right to a fair trial as indications of a fair society.

      Just depends on your point of view really.

      • PeteG 20.1.1

        What’s your point of view on what Osama bin Laden was Ian?

        • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.1

          Osama was some unarmed guy who got executed in cold blood by a heavily armed US special forces detachment, probably on orders.

          Osama is also a Weapon of Mass Distraction.

          He’s not going to help the US from circling down the drain and he’s not going to help the tens of millions of American unemployed, underemployed and living in poverty even as over a trillion US$ have been spent in military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          Lots of money available for the military industrial complex and their major shareholders, none for teachers, police, health and fire services.

          • joe90 20.1.1.1.1

            One version, executed.

            • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah, the President needed to assert political strength in the US, and capturing Osama would have led to a trial which would have been a major distraction for the Obama administration for months (as well as probably kept ratcheting up tensions with Pakistan).

              This way its a done deal, totally “surgical” and contained. And Obama gets political points for being a tough war time President who is not afraid of making tough calls.

              • Pascal's bookie

                There is that, certainly. But that’s not all of it.

                Taking him alive would have entailed a lot more risk of failure. If the headlines had of been along the lines of “Dozens killed in botched raid” with the Whitehouse claiming that the house that exploded was where bin laden was hiding, and the Pakistanis going full bore ‘outrage against our sovereignty’?

                AQ could easily have announced it first, hailing the glorious martyrdom of obl, who refused to be taken by the infidel and detonated a prepared welcome for the infidel, taking out a squad of their finest crusaders blah blah blah.

                It’s complicated.

        • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1.2

          Fairly accomplished practitioner of 4th generation warfare. Wahhabist. Developed and put into practice Qtibs (sp?) strategies. Charismatic by all accounts. Disciplined. Not a cartoon character.

          • rosy 20.1.1.2.1

            Fairly accomplished practitioner of 4th generation warfare

            who aimed to take down the US financially rather than militarily, hence the symbolic target of the world trade center and targeting transportation systems. He may well have succeeded… the endgame is still to be played out.

            • Pascal's bookie 20.1.1.2.1.1

              Yeah, they aren’t even hiding anymore. There was a discussion paper they published a while ago, in english, laughing at western responses to ‘failed’ attempts on airliners. Cost to AQ was around 40K, cost to west in terms of heightened security measures, millions/year.

              I’ll try and track it down

              • Colonial Viper

                Imagine crippling or destroying a US$4M Abrams tank using a US$200 IED based off a couple of salvaged Saddam Hussein era land mines. That’s a 20,000:1 pay off. Doesn’t get much better than that.

                Osama Bin Laden has effectively a trillion dollars to the American federal debt with a spend of just a couple of million (if that), and the cost to the Americans is still climbing.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Here tis:

                http://securityinnovator.com/index.php?articleID=15989&sectionID=27

                not 40k, 4k.

                More editions of the purported AQ mag here:

                http://publicintelligence.net/complete-inspire-al-qaeda-in-the-arabian-peninsula-aqap-magazine/

                Interesting stuff. I’m mainly interested by the vast gulf between the strategic narratives outlined in their propaganda and ours.

                • rosy

                  Thanks, that is really important information. I don’t understand why politicians in the west are not making clear how the Jihad strategy is working. Not sure how it would play out in the court of public opinion, but it can’t be any worse that the ‘clash of civilisations’ narrative, which incidentally the Arab Spring is proving so wrong.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    but it can’t be any worse that the ‘clash of civilisations’ narrative, which incidentally the Arab Spring is proving so wrong.

                    Great point!

                    I often think, looking at how the US speaks about the conflict, that it is being fought mainly for domestic reasons. It gets used as a prop in the internal battle over what the US is, and much of the propaganda is aimed more at getting victories in that fight than in the, err, other one.

                    • joe90

                      in that fight

                      I take it that you’re referring to this fight.

                      btw, the book is free.

                    • rosy

                      Yes, I’ve always thought that the clash of civilisations narrative is to unite the disunited states under, at the time, Bush. All wrapped in the flag of rabid patriotism. A trick that has been used for eons and the public still falls for it. Everywhere.

                • joe90

                  Fascinating PB, thanks.

                • ianmac

                  The $4k program would actually have played into the hands of unscrupulous USA politicians. “You see folks? We are under threat. You must get used to more powers for Homeland security because there is much to fear, fear, fear. And who knows your subjection gives me more power!”

        • ianmac 20.1.1.3

          Damn . I wrote a fulsome reply to that Pete and it vanished.
          Summary. Read years ago about bin Laden’s early road-building life for his adopted Afghanistan.
          His fight against Russia for USA. The oil pipeline USA was blocked from having across Afghanistan. Bin Laden the Freedom fighter for USA becomes named as a terrorist. 9/11 carried out mostly by Saudis from whom bin Laden had been long since disengaged. 3,000 innocents killed. Iraq lost hundreds of thousands of innocents but they were just collateral. Have to accept bin Laden had a hand in 9/11 but never know now because they killed him. USA invades Afghanistan. Pipeline built by USA for USA. bin Laden the focus of the rhetoric. Hated universally.
          Like most people bin Laden was a mixture of good and bad. His good stuff is forgotten. His bad stuff is evil by Western standards. Would USA have found another excuse to invade Iraq/Afghanistan if not bin Laden? Probably. Should he have been brought to trial .Yes. Should G W Bush be brought to trial for the same reasons? Yes.
          Christian, Islam arguments are eternal and usually hopeless.

          Try bin Laden in an International Court and it would be clearer.
          Am I glad that he was killed in such a way? No.
          Was he a freedom fighter? In many ways yes.
          Was he responsible for terrorist acts? So they tell me.
          Did he believe in what he was doing? Yep. Was he right to do all that he has done. Dunno.
          Was he better/worse than many other Leaders? What do you think?

          • PeteG 20.1.1.3.1

            Thanks Ian. I agree or don’t disagree with much of this but with a bit of a different slant to some things.

            He may have freedom fighting in mind at times but it was a very narrow freedom that was destructive or repressive for many people.
            He has claimed responsibility for 9/11.
            I’m not “glad” he was killed in that way but I’m not sorry that he’s dead.
            I don’t think he was “right” to do what he has done, in the main he was a murdering bastard, like Hitler (who also did good things for Germany and many Germans).

            Actually he wasn’t a freedom fighter or murdering bastard, he got others to do his dirty work.

            • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.3.1.1

              Actually he wasn’t a freedom fighter or murdering bastard, he got others to do his dirty work.

              Pretty sure that Osama has killed his share of Soviet troopers, and done so personally, face to face.

              • NickS

                Nyet.

                In Steve Coll’s book Ghost Wars Osama’s personal fighting experience was apparently limited to one battle, where his base of operations at the time was attacked directly by the Soviets. Osama was primarily a strategist, funder and Islamic scholar and aside from that one battle he staid out of the firing lines encamped along the Afghan-Pakistan borders for most of the USSR occupation of Afghanistan, where the Arab volunteers, arms and money from the Pakistani’s and the Gulf States streamed across the border.

                • Hi NickS,

                  Jason Burke obviously disagrees with Steve Coll – see point 5

                  • NickS

                    Forgot about the second battle :P
                    Thanks.

                    Though I think Burke’s wrong about the arms and training supplies, but since I no longer have Ghost Wars on me, I can’t check that one out…

                    What’s more interesting though is the veracity of prior reports on Bin Laden’s health per his kidney problems, as general word from the media was that he needed dialysis. But if his renal issues weren’t major as Burke claims, then drugs would probably easily deal with it and mean Bin Laden could far more easily hide.

            • ianmac 20.1.1.3.1.2

              PeteG @ 7:55 Like G W Bush? Would a person foreign to USA be justified in slipping into the country and killing the President for the distant killings that he authorised?

              • PeteG

                I don’t know if justified is the right word (it could be) but I think it would at least be understandable. I’m aware the US is seen as an invading country by many Iraqis and Afghanis (I sort of accepted going into Afghanistan but was totally against the Iraqi invasion).

                It’s totally unjustified when the target it is a bunch of innocent people in a couple of skyscrapers.

                Andrew Geddis touches on some of this here.

                • rosy

                  Yes I too accepted that the US had a right to chase OBL down in Afganistan, but had no right whatsover to go into Iraq. That is not the same as saying I agree with how the US handled their operation in Afganistan.

                  I’m totally in agreement with Andrew Geddis.

                • Vicky32

                  Oh Pete, why is it that you and, it seems almost everyone else in this country, main stream media, woman in the street, man in the takeaway bar takes it for granted that OBL was, as the media keep saying “the architect of 9/11″?
                  It’s a ‘popular misconception’ that he took responsibility.

  21. William Joyce 21

    Not wanting to get into what Hone said or didn’t say, or whether US foreign policy is good or bad, or if he received justice or was illegally executed…..
    The idea that Osama was a freedom fighter is a misuse of the term. He was not fighting for democracy, the right of women to vote, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and so many other forms of self-determination.
    He “war” was a war of religion and the only politics that interested him were those associated with his religious goals.
    He fought for the freedom to practice religion, but only his religion.
    He fought for the freedom to practice Islam and only his form of Islam.
    He fought for the freedom to remove the infidel from “Muslim lands” and would ultimately want them gone from all lands.
    He fought for the freedom to “remove” all Muslim “compromisers”, all those who did not follow his form of Islam.
    He fought for the freedom to eliminate the infidel from the world either through conversion or the sword.
     
    It is wrong, and ill informed, to label him a freedom fighter.

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      Actually, Bin Laden fought to free Afghanistan and her people from an oppressive occupying foreign military superpower* which had invaded his adopted homeland. So yeah, Osama was definitely and definitively a Freedom Fighter of the day.

      *Not the USA.

      • William Joyce 21.1.1

        The infidels were in a Muslim land.
        If the situation had been such you would have seen that he was not fighting for the right of self-determination for Afghans. After the Russians left, if the Afghans had voted en masse to establish a secular state with freedom of religion you would have seen OBL fighting that democratic Afghan state instead.
        But that was never tested by circumstances/history so people make the mistake of thinking he was fighting for the freedom of Afghanistan.
         

        • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.1

          I’m sorry William, but Freedom Fighters don’t have to fight for the United State’s ideals of democracy, self determination and freedom. They fight for their own ideals and values.

          Even if the United States trained and armed them anyway because it was convenient to US foreign policy at the time.

          • William Joyce 21.1.1.1.1

            Well, CV, the ideas of democracy, self-determination, freedom etc pre-date the US and are not owned by the US.
            Just because the US spout these ideas (and then don’t live up to them) does not make them American.
            “They fight for their own ideals and values.” – you missed my point. It is quite possible that he would have opposed them if their “own ideals and values.” disagreed with his.
            He would not have sanctioned them having the freedom to choose things he did not agree with. Therefore, he was not fighting for freedom. Therefore, he was not a Freedom Fighter.
             

            • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, call him whatever you want then, but I distinctly recall Reagan calling his bunch Freedom Fighters. Fighting against an oppressive dictatorial foreign Communist state.

            • rosy 21.1.1.1.1.2

              He would not have sanctioned them having the freedom to choose things he did not agree with. Therefore, he was not fighting for freedom. Therefore, he was not a Freedom Fighter.

              Agree. And his habit of moving into failed or divided states for protection and influence pretty much proves it. Especially supporting and supported by the repressive Taliban that did not have support of the country outside of what they could hold with terror, and his move to Sudan. That was also the US biggest mistake with the Iraq war – creating another failed state for AQ to do more dirty work – note the Sunni/Shia divide here that also show there was no sanctioning of freedoms.

              btw: Ianmac I don’t know how you can say you dunno if he was right to do all that he has done. The US is wrong to blow up thousands of innocents and destroy nations for a bigger political objective and so was Osama.

              • ianmac

                Yes Rosy. How would the World react if a force swept into USA and assassinated their President as the perpetrator of those crimes? Would you say it was right to kill the President?

                • rosy

                  No, I would say it’s wrong to kill the president, just like I can say it was wrong to kill OBL.

                  But that’s not the point – the point was you said you don’t know if OBL was right to do all the things he’s done. I can’t see how there is any doubt that his killing of innocents is wrong – WTC, London, Madrid and the rest. Wrong. End of. Murder is wrong no matter who does it and for whatever reason. I guess that’s just how I think, I’m not going to argue it.

        • Pascal's bookie 21.1.1.2

          Just saying, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that Afghans would vote en masse to establish a secular state with freedom of religion.

          • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.2.1

            Americans have a bad habit of not recognising democratically elected governments if they are unfriendly.

            In the US value system, being democratic is totally optional. But being friendly to the US is totally necessary.

          • William Joyce 21.1.1.2.2

            @PB : Absolutely, of course not, not in a month of Sundays.

            • Pascal's bookie 21.1.1.2.2.1

              So what are we for? Self determination?

              • William Joyce

                Just for clarity, I started my post with….
                “Not wanting to get into what Hone said or didn’t say, or whether US foreign policy is good or bad, or if he received justice or was illegally executed…..”
                Can I add to that
                - I am making no statement (at least not now) about whether western ideas of freedom are good or bad.
                - I am making no statement (at least not now) about what Afghanistan (whatever that means given it’s composition) should do or not do regarding any of those values.
                I am merely pointing out the contradiction of calling someone a freedom fighter who was not interested in providing freedom.
                As I state below, the best we can say about him is that he fought for the liberation of Afghanistan from a Soviet invasion.

    • rosy 21.2

      Well said William Joyce. He may have been a freedom fighter once upon a time, but he resigned from that role a long, long time ago.

    • ianmac 21.3

      William” “The idea that Osama was a freedom fighter is a misuse of the term.”
      The freedoms that you list are your view of what freedoms you think should be and suggests that other people are bad if they don’t subscribe to them.
      Freedom could be just the right of a person or group to have self-determination about how they do anything. If someone especially those outside your country tries to impose a different belief system then you might fight for freedom is to protect your beliefs.
      If some one tries to tell your country that your women must dress in certain ways, or worship in certain ways or have a different justice system, I imagine you would want to fight them to defend your way.
      On reflection the things you list above would be good to fight for for those who are passionate about their beliefs.
      Off to buy my fish and chips.

      • William Joyce 21.3.1

        Ianmac, instead of reading day old news around your fish and chips, read a book on how to make an argument. (Then try reading comprehension).
        You will find that I did not promote those “ideals”. So my personal beliefs about them are not the issue nor was I suggesting that Afghanistan should adopt them. Understand?
        Freedom involves the right to choose. I used examples of what the west describe as freedoms to show instances of the sort of things that OBL would not have been happy with. And should Afghanistan have chosen (which they probably wouldn’t) then he would have opposed the choice of the Afghan people and therefore their freedom to choose. Therefore he was not fighting for freedom.
        At best he could be described as fighting for the liberation of Afghanistan from the Soviet occupation. To claim more than that misses his motivation.
        I hope the fish and chips were nice.

        • Carol 21.3.1.1

          Philosophy 101: “Freedom” means nothing as a word on its own. It can mean “freedom from xxxx” or “freedom to xxxxx”. So WJ, you are just using the notion of “freedom” in a very specific way and with meanings it has in a very specific cultural context.

          • William Joyce 21.3.1.1.1

            Absolutely Carol.
            I was not discussing freedom as some ethereal, abstract concept,  in the way that it falls so readily off the lips of Americans, without definitions or conditions. ["Even in freedom there is no freedom" - please discuss for Phil 101 midterm :-)]
            The use of the term freedom fighter infers some one who is fighting for the freedom to choose X or Y. They would not have been truly to chose either X or Y IF either X or Y was against his wishes.
            If (X AND “OBL doesn’t allow X”) then Y, else Y
            - also Philosophy 101.
            All OBL was doing was fighting for is the removal of one form of unchosen government for another form of unchosen government.

            • Carol 21.3.1.1.1.1

              Or, William, it can mean fighting for freedom from a specific kind of repression or government. Your focus on “choice” is just one form, while you don’t rate the other freedom from. But that indicates your western cultural values. Also the focus on freedom to choose suggests western individualistic values too. For some people freedom might mean freedom to eat regularly as supplied to them by a fairly autocratic government that chooses for them what they will eat.

              • William Joyce

                Well, food for thought, Carol.
                Again to labour the Phil 101 theme, perhaps we are constrained by language here. A fighter who “frees from” one oppression only to replace it with another is just a “steward” on a slave ship who has given you a window seat.
                Perhaps I will have to accept that to everyone else FF is just inadequate short hand for “a person who liberates a people group from one form of oppression, regardless of whether that person goes on to institute another form of oppression”.
                I guess, all I can say is that I won’t dignify the man with the phrase freedom fighter anymore than I will call John Key an advocate for the poor.

        • ianmac 21.3.1.2

          William. I was not really trying to make an argument and yes the f&c were excellent; very crisp and fresh.
          I was really just considering the idea of freedom and what it means depending on where you stand. Abortion is a crime in some eyes. Abortion is a rightful freedom in the eyes of others. So deciding on just where the right to be a freedom fighter is so hard to be sure right/wrong, I was just musing rather that setting up an argument.
          What bin Laden did early on was more than building roads and fighting Russians then fighting Americans. But it was a long time since my fish and chips had any print on it at all, so I would have to go back and read a book to develop credible info.
          Anyway your question about freedom fighters was food for thought, without the salt.

          Had another thought. Do you think that there is a pattern? Do those who support right leaning ideas have more or less support for the rightness of killing bin Laden, compared to social democratic left leaning folk?
          How about for Freedom Fighting?

          • William Joyce 21.3.1.2.1

            Glad the F&C were good :-)
            “considering the idea of freedom and what it means depending on where you stand.” – As I see it, freedom has nothing to do with where you stand. Where you stand, as you put it, is a matter of perspective and is all about what you see to be true.
            Freedom is about the room to move with regard that belief without facing adverse consequences.
            I think you are right in seeing a pattern. It’s like the debate over anthro. climate, etc. Which is a shame because it causes people to take up positions, not based on reason but who they identify with. That identity can be influenced by education and the schools of thought you were educated in.
            Perhaps I have not been educated in the right schools of thought that would call someone who would force a group of people to conform to his will a freedom fighter. It just seems incongruous to me.
             

    • Puddleglum 21.4

      Sorry William, but this just doesn’t hold together as an argument.

      If freedom means anything in a political sense, it is the right of a people to determine their own path without the interference of another people. If the path they ‘determine’ by their internal processes is, from the outside, a path that limits freedom of the individual that in no way bears on whether at the political level their initial fight with occupiers was for their freedom.

      As any classical liberal will tell you (at the individual level) freedom may not be used well, but it remains freedom.

      You’re confusing a notion of ‘freedom’ cast in relation to the behaviour of individuals with the usual notion of freedom that is cast at the political, social level. The latter is why we talk about “free, sovereign states” to distinguish them from ‘dependencies’, ‘colonies’, etc.. The phrase ‘freedom fighter’ is always – and certainly in this context – referring to this latter level. It’s got nothing to do with the relative freedom of individuals within a “free, sovereign state”.

      • PeteG 21.4.1

        If freedom means anything in a political sense, it is the right of a people to determine their own path without the interference of another people.

        It gets complicated when a minority (or maybe a majority) of a people take control and oppress (or worse) some of the people. Nazi Germany is a prime example.

      • Puddleglum 21.4.2

        Another way I could make the same point is to note that places like Hong Kong (and its people), under British rule, was not free.

        Nevertheless, so far as I’m aware, individuals in Hong Kong’s population enjoyed relatively high levels of personal freedom. But, as a people, they were not free – they were ruled by Britain (i.e., by another people – who, themselves, may, at the individual level have been more or less free than individuals in Hong Kong). Someone who was fighting for the independence of Hong Kong from Britain would have been a ‘freedom fighter’, even if the kind of free state they wanted would reintroduce the binding of women’s feet.

        • ianmac 21.4.2.1

          Great reads thanks Puddlegum. Do you think bin Laden could be regarded as a freedom fighter? Could his friends and family have regarded him so?

        • William Joyce 21.4.2.2

          Ok, I get the distinction between the two levels and therefore “Someone who was fighting for the independence of Hong Kong from Britain would have been a ‘freedom fighter’”.
          But the phrase infers a nobility of cause and action. This was witnessed by the reaction of so many to what they think Hone said. So to use it to refer to a person who would fight one power to “free” a country so that it can be subject to another imposed regime is not what people would understand as a freedom fighter. If this is some specialized jargon phrase that means something different to the words it uses them obviously I have it wrong.

          • wtl 21.4.2.2.1

            FFS, all this argument about the precise meaning of ‘freedom fighter’ is utterly pointless since Harawira never actually said ‘freedom fighter’ . He was speaking Maori, not English. The argument should be about meaning of the Maori words used, not the the meaning of the words used in someone’s English translation.

  22. joe90 22

    The Battle for Tora Bora

    How Osama bin Laden slipped from our grasp: The definitive account.

  23. weka 23

    Does anyone have a direct link to the original Harawira video? The ones in the post are now out of date and I can’t find the interview on TVNZ.

  24. weka 24

    Here’s a transcript from the Stuff excerpt of the Te Karare interview. I agree with what was said by an earlier commenter, that this is an English subtitle version of sentiments being expressed originally in Maori. With my limited understanding of te reo I’d say that the subtitles are a simplified version.

    TK: First your thoughts on the death of Osama bin Laden.

    HH: It is custom for Maori to honour and mourn the deceased, so I acknowledge him and bid him farewell. Return to your ancestors who wait for you beyond the veil of death.

    TK: We have heard nothing but negative things about him from the Americans, but he fought for self-determination of his people and for his beliefs.

    HH: Indeed, despite what the media has said, his family, his tribe, his people are in mourning. They mourn for the man who fought for the rights, the lands and the freedom of his people. We should not damn them in death, but acknowledge the positive aspects of life.

    • PeteG 24.1

      I’m happy to damn OBL in death. He was responsible for the deaths of many innocent people.

      • weka 24.1.1

        You’re entitled to your own personal beliefs about what is an appropriate response to someone’s death. What’s at issue is why so many kiwis don’t want to learn about Maori beliefs about what is appropriate. And why they’re not free to express them.

        • PeteG 24.1.1.1

          They are free to express them. And they have to accept the consequences if they want to try and attract a party vote.

          From what I’ve seen there are varying opinions on what is appropriate and what Maori beliefs are on it. Harawira and Walker seem a minority even amongst Maori on that (and it’s notable that Harawira saw fit to offer an apology). Not just competing MPs like Jones and Henare, but also online commentators like Joshua Hitchcock, and Morgan Godfery who said:

          “I have no problem with Hone’s view that Maori respect the dead. But respect falls short of homage. I am really, really disappointed that Hone has made this mistake. ”

          And

          “Angry, arrogant Harawira may be gone, but stupid Harawira is still with us.”

          • Colonial Viper 24.1.1.1.1

            From what I’ve seen there are varying opinions on what is appropriate and what Maori beliefs are on it.

            That’s because Maori language and traditions can vary greatly even across different parts of the same iwi.

          • weka 24.1.1.1.2

            “They are free to express them. ”

            I’m not sure they are. If Maori are consistently misquoted and misrepresented in the MSM, they’re not really free to express their beliefs and world views without negative repercussions. By negative repercussions I’m not talking about people disagreeing with them or condeming them. I’m talking about their words and views being so distorted that the people that end up judging them don’t know what they are judging. Also, if non-Maori won’t make the effort to understand Maori world views in context, then they don’t have the right to make judgements. What we’re seeing this week is just more of the same old racism that’s endemic here thanks to the MSM.

            “Not just competing MPs like Jones and Henare, but also online commentators like Joshua Hitchcock, and Morgan Godfery who said:”

            So? Are you saying that Harawira is wrong, that his statements in the above transcript don’t reflect a Maori world view just because some people disagree with him?

            Besides, how do you know that any of the people you’ve seen commenting have heard what Harawira actually said as opposed to what the Herald etc said he said? Two very different things.

            The thing that pisses me off about this situation is that Harawira should have been free to say what he wants and let his comments stand, and then the people that disagree could have had an interesting debate about the different world views at play here, why Maori see the world the way they do and have the protocols and responses they do. They’re not actually as radical as the MSM are making out. The problem is that we are still unable as a society to have a conversation that includes intelligent understanding of things Maori. That is the real shame this week.

            • PeteG 24.1.1.1.2.1

              If Maori are consistently misquoted and misrepresented in the MSM,

              It’s not just Maori that think they are misquoted and misrepresented if they are reported in the MSM, most people don’t see reports on them as they wished.

              Also, if non-Maori won’t make the effort to understand Maori world views in context, then they don’t have the right to make judgements.

              If Hone doesn’t want to make the effort to understand voter response to whatever he chooses to say then he won’t get votes. Non-Maori (and Maori) can choose what they want to understand, or not. Most of the public don’t and won’t take their time – especially those who currently don’t vote, they ones that Harawira and Sykes are hoping will give them a party vote. They have to earn votes, not expect the disillusioned to take the time to see things the Mana way.

              Mana is earned, not a chosen label.

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