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Syria

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 24th, 2012 - 144 comments
Categories: democratic participation, human rights, International, war - Tags:

In a perfect world, we would all live free, in some kind of ideal democracy. We’re not there. But what we and the rest of the developed world have is a hell of a lot better than what the people of Syria have: despotic rule by the murderous son of their former murderous despot. The Syrians are trying to overthrow their tyrant, should the world help?

At first principles, I would hold that it is abhorrent for any human being to live in the conditions that Syrians live in and it is even worse for a government to suppress dissent against its rule with the violence used by Bashir al-Assad’s gang of criminals. If we were living under those conditions and we were trying to fight for our freedom, we would want help from the people whose freedoms we were trying to emulate. The golden rule says we should help others likewise.

The pre-Westphalian concept that a prince’s right to rule could be forfeit if they treated their people too badly has recently been revived by the UN as the ‘responsiblity to protect’. When Syrians are being murdered in peaceful protests and in their own homes by Assad’s heavily armed thugs, don’t those that can have the responsiblity to protect them?

The Syrian people, having initially said they wanted to win their freedom themselves, are now crying out for NATO air power to protect them from the heavy weapons of the Syrian army that are pummeling rebel towns and killing people by the dozens. They are asking international forces not for occupation or boots on the ground, but for a reprise of the successful assistance that allowed Libyans to free themselves of Gaddafi (what’s that you say? Libya’s not yet the land of milk and honey? Get over it. Check out any country 6 months after a democratic revolution, it’s not a one-step process)

So, ideally, the world would come to the Syrian people’s aid, but realpolitik is complicated.

The geopolitical context:
Don’t give me any BS about any intervention in Syria being just another ‘war for oil’. Yup, powers do use military power to secure supplies of strategic resources. They don’t stay powers long if they don’t.That’s not a justification, just stating the obvious. But Syria’s no target for the oil hungry. Its net exports are just 100,000 barrels a day. That’s like New Zealand’s net imports. Nothing. Anyway, its much easier to get your oil contracts from tame dictators than tempestuous new democracies – why do you think the US was so unwilling to get involved in Libya? Gaddafi had been very cooperative in recent years.

The geopolitical considerations here are really about Islamic sects. Syria is majority Sunni but ruled by the minority Alawites, a small Shi’ite sect that is considered not to be truly Muslim by many, particularly the Sunni Wahhabists that rule Saudi Arabia. Iran’s Shi’ite rulers, on the other hand, are strong allies of Assad. The Shi’ite dominated government in Iraq is warmly disposed towards them (Assad and Saddam were enemies, even though both Baathists), while the Sunni minority in Iraq shares tribal links, and now weapons, with Syria’s rebellious Sunni majority.

Israel, of course, has a long-standing animosity with Syria – they bombed its partially-constructed nuclear reactor in 2007. Russia is a long-standing friend of Libya. China would rather keep Assad in power, estranged from the West and in need of a powerful ally (which would all go towards strengthening China’s bond with Iran, too). Libya, for what its worth, is very supportive of the rebels, hoping the Syrians can emulate their own success in defeating their despot. Turkey is old problems with Syria (including territorial claims) and is currently playing host to some of the opposition movements.

A complicated picture. No wonder the West has been so hesitant about getting involved.

The internal politics:
Assad is Alawite but so is most of the professional army – something like 70% of the soldiers and 80% of the officers, while the vast majority of the conscripts (all males are compelled to undertake military service) are Sunnis. The last uprising, against Assad’s father, was led by Sunni Islamists, and he crushed it brutally – something not forgotten by anyone in Syria.

The current rebellion is concentrated in Sunni cities and most of the Free Syrian Army seems to be Sunni conscripts.

So, any intervention is going to be effectively taking sides in a sectarian dispute but, then, this is a country where a ruling family has built and maintained its power base by systematically favouring its own sect and repressing others – the Assad dictatorship has made the Alawites a privileged elite with the military power to protect that privilege.

Military considerations:
Syria is no Libya. In many ways, Libya was tailor-made for a a successful rebellion with outside air support: little air force or air defence, a one-dimensional fight along the coastal road with the rebellion, initially, geographically concentrated. Just establish air superiority and then blow up any armour or artillery pointing in the wrong direction.

Syria’s air defences are much more extensive and advanced than Libya’s – probably even more after visits from Russian and Iranian warships, which will have been carrying examples of those respective countries’ newest anti-aircraft systems (and anti-ship missiles?) for fielding testing. Syria has a lot more armour – 5,000 tanks! Yes, some of them 50 years old but they still work to blow up neighbourhoods and would strain the capacity of enemy air forces to destroy – and artillery, some of which is now held by the Free Syrian Army. Syria also has Scuds, which could put any neighbours off supporting an intervention unless they get supplied with anti-missile protection.

The geography is more complicated than Libya with few areas outright held by the rebels but rebel actions and protests occurring in all major cities.

It would be a very complicated fight. The US and other NATO countries could bring enough air power to bear to control Syrian airspace and whittle away at the Syrian army’s ability to massacre its own people, but could it do it in time and at a cost that the politicians would be willing to bear? Libya cost about $3.5 billion US for the international forces – the biggest chunk the UK – and heavily depleted some of the countries’ stocks of cruise missiles and anti-armour missiles. Syria would be an order of magnitude greater and the US, in particular, would be wary of running down its forces in the Middle East when the situation with Iran could boil over some time in the next six months (more on that later).

Conclusion:
So, in an ideal world, the free (for certain values of ‘free’) people of the world would help people who want to be free to overthrow the despot that is murdering them. But its easier said than done, there are complex international, internal, and military factors at play. Still, I hope that those that can act do – by using airpower to neutralise the regime’s advantage in heavy weapons. Because the alternative is that the Syrian freedom fighters will be crushed under Assad’s tanks.

144 comments on “Syria”

  1. Clashman 1

    To put it very simply, Syria=Iran=Russia=WW3. Stay the fuck out of it for the rest of the worlds sake.

    • Deano 1.1

      you think Russia or even Iran is going to actively come to Syria’s aid? Like, go to war with NATO over Syria? Get real. Supplying a few missiles to see if they work in battle conditions is one thing, but, come on, Russia’s getting rich selling oil and gas to Europe and subtly re-establishing power in its ‘near abroad’ with the same, why would they put that at risk for Assad? As for Iran, they, too, need to keep selling oil – they’re not going to die in a ditch for Syria.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        you think Russia or even Iran is going to actively come to Syria’s aid?

        What, apart from the fact that Russia routinely docks nuclear missile submarines and other heavy warships at its naval base in Tartus?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartus#Russian_naval_base

      • Clashman 1.1.2

        How much longer do you think Russia is going to sit and watch it sphere of influence be eroded by NATO/US. Iran has a defence pact with Syria. http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/93798/iran-syria-sign-defense-pact-against-39-foreign-aggression-39-.html

      • travellerev 1.1.3

        As for your remark about Russia and Iran not supporting Syria with their armed forces here are some links you might want to check: Iran, 15,000 elite troops, Russia.
        If you think Russia is going to loose the one Mediterranean harbour it has and allow the US and NATO to isolate them one bit further you’re sadly mistaken and as Israel and the US are already killing scientists, bombing military and nuclear sites in Iran I think those 15.000 black op and specialist troops send to support the regime are very much needed for Iran to keep the Western War machine as far away from their own population as possible. Better in Syria than on their own soil.
        And I’m sure China will be supporting Syria if not openly as they will Iran than with money and trade.

        Iran has plenty of opportunities to sell their oil. India, China and many European countries need their oil and in fact they have stopped delivering to the UK and France. The amounts sold to those countries to those countries may not have been much but they can still say fuck you to them.

        • Foreign Waka 1.1.3.1

          Absolutely right, Russia has lost Afghanistan with is oil route – or does anybody really think the war there is about democracy? I agree that it is in China’s interest to combine forces with Russia, they are sharing a border after all and can block the northern plane.Turkey wants to be part of Nato so the Bosporus is secured for the US. Greece won’t mind, they may have to sell their half as they have been put on notice financially (not politically). Don’t forget Israel being an alley for the US and maybe get a reward – a strip of land beyond the Golan.There are no innocent parties in that “game” and a lot of sable rattling is going on since years. The noose is just getting tighter.

          [Russia never received oil via Afghanistan. Russia doesn’t need a route for oil imports – it is the world’s largest oil producer and exporter. Europe and China are dependent on its exports. Besides which, Russia’s fellow CIS members in a Caucasus are a far more direct route to the Middle East. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. 60 years. But, hey, who’s counting? Eddie]

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.3.1.1

            Ironically, there’s a good chance that the Americans in Afghanistan absolutely depend on Iranian and Russian fuel supplies (provided by independent intermediary contractors of course).

            http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10305/1099717-84.stm

          • Foreign Waka 1.1.3.1.2

            Please see this link http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/oil.html or this http://www.ciaonet.org/cbr/cbr00/video/cbr_ctd/cbr_ctd_52.html
            I lived in Europe at the time and it was no secrete that this war was about infrastructure and oil.
            I did not say that Afghanistan received oil, but rather that the USSR has build infrastructure to transport it and as all valuables wanted to protect it against US interests. As all wars it is not about democracy it is about power and money.
            Turkey wants to be part of Nato:
            Turkey’s role in the Nato is being questioned especially since the radical Muslim sects are taking hold in the east. Yes, they are a member since 52Turkey is after all a Muslim country and has invaded Europe not just once. But we are talking a few more hundred years back.

            “With the end of the Cold War, NATO’s mission changed and some saw Islamism as the new strategic enemy. Already in 1995, NATO Secretary General Willy Claes compared Islamism to the historic foe: “Fundamentalism is at least as dangerous as communism was.”
            With the Cold War over, he added, “Islamic militancy has emerged as perhaps the single gravest threat to the NATO alliance and to Western security.”

            Coupled with the saga of threatening to shut down Nato stations in Turkey if not accepted into the EURO zone is another issue not making much headlines.
            Turkey is the only MUSLIM country in Nato and is asking for many favors to be there.
            So the west looks away when the same that is condemned in other countries is actively pursued – the ongoing atrocities against the Kurd s an indigenous people on its borders. Many Europeans, who had no say about that Membership would never vote for it, no matter what the propaganda is. For a starter – just ask the Greeks…

  2. tsmithfield 2

    Yes, I think the differences we have on this blog are fairly insignificant compared to what is going on in Syria. We all should be very thankful we can publicly disagree on blogs such as this without fear of being tracked down and persecuted by the system.

    So far as dealing with the Syrian regime, a more effective way might be to actively target the leaders of the regime with the likes of drones, targeted air strikes, snipers etc. When the leaders start getting killed, the remainder are likely to lose motivation fairly quickly I expect.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      When the leaders start getting killed, the remainder are likely to lose motivation fairly quickly I expect.

      The classic US “decapitation” strategy. Doesn’t work, if you go by Iraq. Families and even entire clans turn to becoming ever more radicalised insurgents.

  3. muzza 3

    Author – Can you cite some sources of your information?

    If you are going to push an agenda of propaganda then perhaps some links.
    Personally I’m surprised the web site allowed this poorly written, factually incorrect article.

    Here is one for you http://www.tarpley.net

    • lprent 3.1

      Very similar to what I have been reading. For instance from the economist (was reading/watching these yesterday).
      http://www.economist.com/node/21547243

      And finally

      • Bill 3.1.1

        Jeez. could only watch the first seconds of ‘the economist’ link. That’s all the time it took to set up the usual propaganda platform. See, The Arab League did indeed send in a mission. But it then buried the report because it didn’t quite concur with expectations, ie it didn’t out-right condemn Assad and was pretty damned scathing of the so-called opposition. And that’s quite a different scenario to ( as the economist states) simply ‘withdrawing’ the mission, and leaving listeners to draw their own conclusions (from a background of incessant one eyed shit) on why a mission would be withdrawn.

        Here’s a piece with a link to the leaked report http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NB04Ak01.html

        • Vicky32 3.1.1.1

          That’s all the time it took to set up the usual propaganda platform.

          After weeks of being pretty confused about Syria, and deciding that I couldn’t decide, I have now come around to thinking that it all reminds me of the Libyan situation last year!
          I am not sure about the Tarpley link – it all seems a bit hysterical. However, a red flag for me was when the dead baby/incubator atrocities started being reported… it was all a bit too reminiscent of the Hill & Knowlton story in 1991. A friend of mine who wants the Americans to step in and save Syria for demawcracy, (she’s a wealthy American living in London and married to a merchant banker) sent me a link to the Economist, when I expressed my doubts. The Economist link has no credibility.

          • muzza 3.1.1.1.1

            Vicky32, and that is how you can come up with a decision. You have been able to look back in time, to other events, which had the same play book run on them, and been able to rationalise that there is likely large degrees of propaganda which people are subjected to. Thats not to say that it is not going both ways, but your analysis to get to a decision for yourself that you are comfortable with, is an example of how to think things through. Others on here could learn from you.

            SO far as Webster Tarpley is concerned, he is a well renound historian, author and academic which is not to say he is infallable, only to say that hysterical is not usually a word to asscociate with historians. If you want to get a feel for his insight, you can download free podcasts from itunes of his 2 hour weekly radio show. Just search Webster Tarpley, otherwise you can listen to them from his web-site http://www.tarpley.net
            The link wayne gave I have not listened to or watched, the radio shows are very matter of fact!

    • thatguynz 3.2

      +1

  4. Rijab 4

    Both sides are full of ‘heavily armed thugs’, reports even suggest that al qaeda elements have infiltrated the ‘activists’. Any intervention by western powers will see many (more) thousands of innocent Syrians lose their lives and a flood of weapons into the country, as has happened in Libya.

    The conclusion in the article above makes a number of assumptions. What sort of regime will replace Assad if the west intervenes? Are the ‘freedom fighters’ really fighting for freedom?

    The west should stop taking sides and pressure both Al-Assad and the activists to put down their weapons. Of course they won’t, because that wouldn’t be in their wider regional interest and this isn’t just a case of the west trying to help the Syrian people win freedom.

    In saying that, thanks for the contribution … it’s good to read about important issues like this and see some discussion!

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/02/201221794018300979.html (“US official says al-Qaeda involved in Syria”)

    • Deano 4.1

      So, you can have self-determination, but only if its the ‘right’ kind of self-determination? We want democracy and freedom from despots like Assad for liberals but not for Islamists? Better to leave the Syrian people to rot because some of them would form Islamist parties in a new demcoracy?

      • muzza 4.1.1

        Yeah I’m an American, Yeah

        Deomoracy anglo-saxon style!

        Wait hold on, I’m watching Fox news, but want some balance, so I’ll change the channel to CNN, I mean BBC, woops I mean Sky News, darn it, Al Jazeera…and on, and on, and on….

      • Clashman 4.1.2

        Well thats been the “Wests” M.O for a long time now.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1

          Democracy is most acceptable if the electorate chooses a pro-US pro-Europe pro-central banking Government.

    • McFlock 4.2

      That’s another ingredient in the mix – if the rebellion needs assymetric expertise and equipment and the “west” doesn’t supply it, it will come from AQ-wannabes. But if the west does supply it, we could have a confrontation between superpowers.
        
      So there will be a strong block in the west just quietly hoping the inconvenient rebellion fails. 
        
      On the flipside, lowering Russian influence in the mideast could help cool the mediterranean side of it from a western perspective. So some will be arguing for assistance for the rebellion. 
        
      And then there’s the entire “replaced by what” factor – Assad is a pragmatist. the last thing we need is another zealot in charge of a west-asian country. The Israelis and Iranians are enough already, thanks very much.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        I don’t think there is any clear bright line between people in ‘the rebellion’ and ‘AQ-wannabe’s’. Also chuck in AQ-Iraq into the mix.

        http://rt.com/news/syria-opposition-al-qaeda-us-567/

        personally I think the US will use and assist anyone who will help them get rid of Assad, and sort out the identity politics later. And why shouldn’t they?

        NB remember the US is engaging the Taliban in Afghanistan in negotiation and co-operation. Nothing is off limits in this world.

  5. Here we go again! Let’s bomb another country back to the stone age to liberate it’s people from it’s dictator.

    But… but before we buy into the propaganda crap (Bad move Standardistas to allow this otherwise magnificent blog to be used for the usual propaganda crap straight out of the mud stream media) let’s get some facts straight before we go there.

    We only attack “dictators” if their countries are sitting on oil or other resources we want if said dictators are using the oil to benefit their people instead of the US or NATO. The Us and the NATO are happy to support dictators such as the “kings” of Saudi Arabia, Jordanie and Bahrein who are compliant with the demands of the West so there goes the “let’s help the people” meme.

    Here are some links you might want to check. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Opium, Libya

    Why is it that while every American now has to accept being groped by his or her genitals to prove they are not terrorists we are actually supporting al Qaeda in Libya and Syria and it’s equivalent in Iran.

    Here are some links you might want to check, Iran, Syria, Libya

    Syria’s legitimate opposition groups want elections and a peaceful transition to democracy while the oppose foreign intervention (which they see as occupation and war for oil) or the armament and support of rebel groups which are supported by the same groups they don’t want to intervene.

    Here are some links you might want to check Tarpley.Net,

    In Libya the new rulers supported by the US and NATO are aligned with ultra fundamentalist Muslims and known “Al Qaeda” leaders who are committing atrocities and mass murders and are generally as despotic as Mohammar Gaddafi was so with all the bombardments killing hundreds of thousand of civilians we have not improved one iota of liberation for the Libyan people.

    Here is a link you might want to check

    As for your remark about Russia and Iran not supporting Syria with their armed forces here are some links you might want to check: Iran, 15,000 elite troops, Russia.

    And last but not least if you have no idea of what is really going on in the world please refrain from writing such badly researched emotional laden claptrap and if you insist in going to war I suggest you enlist in the US army and lead the way but I have a sneaky suspicion that just like the chicken hawks in the US and NATO you will happily send someone else’s son our daughter in harms (who are sick and tired of being used by the rich and powerful to fight their illegal wars of conquest) way while flying the flag of liberty cowardly from the safety of these Islands.  
     

      You and your ilk and your pandering to the war machine disgusts me.

    • Help purgatory, to many links I fear!!!

      [lprent: 10 is the setting. So yes… ]

    • Blighty 5.2

      Your belief that we should let the Syrian civilian population be crushed by Assad sickens me.

      • muzza 5.2.1

        And you know who is killing who exactly how?

        Of course any air stikes or land invasion would only take out the “bad guys”, because thats what the media I follow tells me!

        By the way. who is funding/arming “the rebels” etc, because no-one fights for free right!

        • Blighty 5.2.1.1

          are you denying that the Assad regime is killing protestors and shelling cities?

          You would fight for free if you were living under Assad, I would hope. And you would ask for aid and weapons to prevent your family being murdered. I would hope.

          • muzza 5.2.1.1.1

            are you denying that the Assad regime is killing protestors and shelling cities? – Well, from what I read there is various groups killing all sorts of people, and that includes civillians being taken out to be used as “statistics & evidence” against the Assad regeime. Lots of info propaganda flying around, so I put it into the wider context of the “arab spring” , which as a load of BS…I mean, if Iranian Scientists are being assinated, then how can you be sure there is not external interference in Syria, just the way there was in Lybia – Thats right you cant!

            You would fight for free if you were living under Assad, I would hope – Why would you hope that, based on the fact that I have never lived there, nor pretend to know exactly what is going on…its a dirty fight though, and the media play their part of course, and the USA/UK/EU play theirs! Never lived there though, you?

            And you would ask for aid and weapons to prevent your family being murdered. I would hope. – Obviously , yes. But in this instance, I asked what you are basing your assessment of good/bad or right/wrong, as simple people so like to see things in 2 dimensions only?

            • Blighty 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Christ. There’s rational skepticism, and then there’s believing that Assad is a great guy who is being attacked by a coalition of Al Qaeda and the West and we ought to support him as he bombards his own towns.

              • muzza

                I don’t know him personally Blighty, do you?

                Blighty, the in aim in any topic, if people want to comment
                should be to attempt to get as close to the truth as possible,
                which is very difficult in the information age, because there
                is so much of it. The key thing is read as much from as many
                sources as possible, and look for trend patterns in what you read,
                then form your own opinions.

                Blindly making statements which are those thoughts given to you
                by the main stream media, just make you sound like, well, like you cant think for yourself.

                You have managed to avoid answering the questions, but feel free to try.

                How do you know who is being killed by who Blighty?

                There is little rational in your postings I’m afraid to tell you..

                Read higher up, and you will see you’re almost alone on this thred in your position!

                • Edos

                  Let’s just get this straight – do you believe that the Syrian regime isn’t currently bombarding Homs and killing civilian protestors in Damascus, or do you believe its all made up by a conspiracy of the West and Al Qaeda that is out to get Assad for some reason?

                  It seems like a pretty simple question.

                  • muzza

                    I think you need go so read some broader coverage on geopolitical history and global affairs. Not just what you see on the news, or read in the paper mate!

                    If you did, you might be able to have a cogent understanding of what is actually happening in that part of the world.

                    There has been planty of links provided by people on this thread, get stck in.

                    The further you look past into the past, the clear the future can become!

                  • muzza

                    I think you need to go read some broader coverage of geopolitical history, and current global affairs in the middel east. There are plenty of links provided by otheres on this thread, so get stuck into it.

                    Hint, it might be a little scary from what you are used to reading, it might make you question much of what you believe you knew, but that does not make it wrong!

                    The further we look back into the past, the more clearly we can see the future!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Yes, you’re talking bollocks.

                    • muzza

                      Kotahi, the truth is always out there, no matter how many lies are told, or how much spin or denial is smeared over the top of it, not even if a million years have passed since, the truth is always there!

                      To put it into a simple form you might understand….

                      When a tree falls in a forrest, if nobody hears it, does it make a sound? – YES of course it makes a sound, and like the truth, it is there, nothing, not anything can change it!

                      Doesnt mean we should stop trying to get as close to it as we can eh.

                      Much as I might try, your childish remarks give me no entertainment, but they do say something pertinent

                      #youhavebeenowned

                      [lprent: Bad idea. You’ll find that I land like a ton of bricks on people starting that bloody stupid pwned, owned, and generally the set of “I have/am a bit of dick because all the blood has been sucked out of my brains into other anatomy” tactics. It usually results in a wee holiday far from our site for offenders because I get bored reading the resulting flame wars. Read the policy and avoid attracting my immoderate moderating attention. ]

                    • McFlock

                      When a tree falls in a forrest, if nobody hears it, does it make a sound? – YES of course it makes a sound, and like the truth, it is there, nothing, not anything can change it!
                      Doesnt mean we should stop trying to get as close to it as we can eh.

                      Lol – Occupational Safety and Health would disagree. But feel free to stand under a falling tree if you really want to.

                  • Populuxe1

                    The latest conspiracy nonsense that someone tried to feed me the other day is that Qatar are secretly manipulating the whole thing – oh, and apparently they are also using Al Jazeera to spread anti-Assad propaganda. Quite why Qatar would want to do this is beyond my ken, however.

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.2

            What business is it of the US though?

            And if US forces were found unjustifiably imprisoning, torturing, shooting and LGB’ing civilian villages and civilian individuals, would it be fair for those civilians to ask for “aid and weapons to prevent (their) family being murdered” and to fight back against tyranny under US forces?

            Oh whoops that already happened.

      • travellerev 5.2.2

        I take it that means you have not checked any of the links such as Dr Tarpley travelling to blooming Syria and showing us there is an entirely different situation than the mud stream media wants us to believe.

        • Wayne 5.2.2.1

          Dr Tarpley is good.

          Russia Today is also a good alternative news source.

          They have great commenters such as Dr Tarpley and also an Iranian academic called Mohammad Marandi.

          This is Tarpley on the Dalai Lama (CIA monk)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmw5FIjDDBY&feature=relmfu

          Prof Marandi on Academic imperialism:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMUF8leJ_mM

          Points of view you hardly ever get from the mainstream media in the West.

          • McFlock 5.2.2.1.1

            That’s all the recommendation I needed, “Wayne”.
               
            I for one won’t be wasting my time with the tarpley links.

            • muzza 5.2.2.1.1.1

              Whats your basis for the anti Tarpley position, out of interest?

              • McFlock

                Support from Wayne – one of the more racist people I’ve encountered on the interwebs, and a person who thinks that imprisoning or shooting dissidents is an internal matter that we shouldn’t worry our decadent postmodern imperialist heads about.
                   
                Another nutbar. You two should get along fine.

                • muzza

                  Good to see you have got some further uninformed opinions Mc(flock).

                  Why bother expanding your narrow views, just because the links were provided by
                  someone who you have passed off as a racist. Its in keeping
                  with how you act on these boards though, so you get consistancy points.

                  You just remain ignorant, ill-informed, and passing judgement, better that way..

                  There’s a good lad, run along now…

                  I feel grubby that I responded to you…

                  • McFlock

                    I’ve found through long and bitter experience that if a known nutbar links to someone on the internet that isn’t a peer-reviewed journal, chances are it’s just another nutbar. And I’m not the only one here who’s called “Wayne” racist. There’s something about saying the world would be better off if all xxx were dead that tends to get up people’s noses.
                          
                    By the way, a highlight of your “fluid thinking”: 

                    You just remain ignorant, ill-informed, and passing judgement, better that way..

                    Aren’t you “passing judgement” on me with that line? I guess hypocrisy is okay from your “point of view”.

                     

                    • muzza

                      Not so thinly veiled reaction by me, to your unsolicited nutbar jibe in my direction…

                      More of an observation though Mc(flock),

                      No need really!

                    • McFlock

                      So because it is a “reaction” hypocrisy is alright?
                        
                      Interesting.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Woo hoo! Tarpley the 9/11 conspiracy theorist comes to the rescue to explain Syria, and whaddaya know, he finds a conspiracy.

                      No wonder Wayne and Muzza are so impressed.

                    • muzza

                      No Kotahi, just because you are not capable of critical understanding of complex geopolitical history, does not give you the right to throw out comments like that!

                      Have a read of this thread, and while you are at it some of the links provide by others here, you will notice that there are quite a few people who take the time to try an understand what is actually happening, its called broad spectrum analysis!

                      Again you have shown yourself up, with some rather crazy comment. You are only giving even more credence to the fact that after yesterdays vaccine banter, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about!

                      Sad!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Ma gavte la nata.

                    • McFlock

                      Lol.
                        
                      I’m picking that analysis isn’t the only thing that’s “broad spectrum” here…

                • Foreign Waka

                  McFlock – I cannot see a racist comment here but I can see a preconceived opinion. Maybe the reports he suggests are not worth looking at – for you – but that does not mean that it is an absolute truth to everybody. (If there ever is such a thing). Wars start with disputes and disputes start with dislike and dislike starts with closed minds….

                  • McFlock

                    This was the last time Wayne presented a link to illustrate his pov, as far as I know. So excuse me for assuming an absolute truth that his pov is ignorant and bigotted.
                       
                    Actually, can we just ditch the perceptual relativism already? Lots of people disagree with me for good reasons, but sometimes the difference is so extreme that one of us is a serious nutbar. And on most of the topics this has happened so far, I have had reasonable grounds for assuming it isn’t me.

                    • Foreign Waka

                      Perceptual relativism?

                      There are different kinds of relativism. Conceptual relativism denies the existence of objective criteria for assessing the diversity of beliefs about the world. Perceptual relativism, which is more radical, denies the possibility of evaluating objectively the diversity of experiences of the world. Moral relativism denies that objective criteria exist for evaluating the diversity of norms.

                      Who is the perpetrator?

                    • McFlock

                      Wayne. He was the vector by which that link enetered my experience. So therefore he is a source prone to false positives when recommending links. So therefore his links aren’t worth spit. So therefore we need to fall back on the old standbys of whether syria has been in a state of emergency for decades, or the rule is not so much democratic as dynastic, and whether there is a history of human rights abuses.
                         
                      In this case, I’d probably back the devil I don’t know over Assad.

            • travellerev 5.2.2.1.1.2

              Not even the one were he actually calls in from Syria after he visited Homs. The city were according to our mud stream media like in Benghazi Libya all the rebel forces are and which is said to be the beginning of the Syrian revolution? You would think that would be interesting. At least he has the balls to go to Libya and Syria and to the hotspots in those countries. Gives him, you know, some credibility over all the other unsubstantiated “witnesses”

              • McFlock

                Um – this is the guy?
                   
                I don’t think I’ll bother. I’m sure he has the balls to claim to go to Syria and Libya, but unless I bump into him in downtown Damascus I probably couldn’t count on him getting the correct continent.

                • muzza

                  You believe what you read on wikipedia LOL, that explains , so much!

                  As with any subject matter , one should be aiming for maximum coverage, but ruling someone in/out of scope because of their wiki bio is laughable, yes in your direction!

                  You won’t see him in Libya, Syria or anywhere else in that regio Mc(Flock), because you will never be there yourself!

                  Disappear bro!

                  • McFlock

                    Seems to be broadly in line with his bio on his own website.
                     
                    Which bits of Wikipedia were incorrect?
                        
                    There’s a cruise ship in town at the moment – maybe I should check to see if he’s calling in his Syria updates from on board?

                • Dr Tarpley was there with a group of people upon invitation of a local Christian leader if I remember correctly. So far none of these people has called him a liar and telephones have number tracing so I’m sure this can and has been verified.

        • Edos 5.2.2.2

          Can you tell me why the West would suddenly want to make up stories about a civil war in Syria? The guy has always been very tame towards the West.

          And are all the scenes, all the youtube footage, just inventions, shot on a Hollywood soundstage? Those journalists that were killed, were they really CGI?

          I get being anti-war and anti-imperialism, we all are.

          I don’t get why that morphs into being anti helping the people of a country overthrow their dictator and constructing elaborate myths of how the dictator is a great guy to justify that.

          • Bill 5.2.2.2.1

            Edos, I think the argument goes that ‘the west’ has and had a hand in destabilising Syria…meaning ‘encouraging’ a civil war situation.

            And scenes don’t always show what they purport to show or what voice overs imply. ( Sometimes ‘generic’ footage is used…ie, footage that lacks any ‘markers’ as to time and place.) As an example of how news reports can seek to confound reality, refer to the footage and commentary of globalvision(?) during the coup attempt on Hugo Chavez that was uncritically picked up by msm in the west.

            And journalists get killed in war zones. That doesn’t mean they were targetted per se (although that does happen.) Eg Al Jazeera offices in Iraq.

            And I don’t think anyone is saying Assad is a ‘good guy’.

            And the west has never helped a people overthrow a dictator for philanthropic reasons. Ever. But you’re welcome to provide an example of that having been the case. Just one.

            • MValley 5.2.2.2.1.1

              You’re correct that nations are very loath to expend their power and resources, especially military power and resources in the interests of others. Which is why they were so damn unwilling to help the Libyans that Gaddafi nearly won, which would have seen slaughter on a horrific scale.

              The West hasn’t helped overthrow Assad yet. They’re very hesitant to, for the reasons I outline in the post. You see, if you had bothered to read the post, I argue that its morally wrong to let people be crushed by the army of a violent dictator but the West will probably let exactly that happen because it’s too hard (=expensive) for them to intervene.

              What confuses me is that so many people who consider themselves leftwing and, so, ought to believe in the essential equality and worthiness of all people, are so willing to let repressed people be murdered by dictators because the alternative is US military action and their hatred for the US overrides their belief in the human rights of oppressed people. It’s kind of ‘if you’re the victim of my enemy but you’re asking my other enemy for help, you can go get crushed by a tank’ logic.

              To square this circle, you will even concoct elaborate fantasies, which unconsciously repeat the propaganda of the dictatorial regime, that portray the dictator as innocent and have the rebelling citizens as either a media invention or foreign agitators.

              • thatguynz

                Michael, with all due respect I think you’ve either not read or you’ve misunderstood some of the comments.
                 
                The alternate view from yours isn’t that Assad is a benevolent old chum that can do no wrong as you assert, but rather that the view that you’re espousing isn’t necessarily the sole source of the truth.  As with any situation there are two sides to any story and often, the truth falls in the middle.
                 
                Is there any reason you believe that this case would be any different?

              • Bill

                Nah.

                I’ll put this really simply. The political legitimacy of the USSR collapsed when people, instead of looking to the ground and shuffling away when the KGB were around, expressed contempt.

                When authority is faced with utter disdain it has no way back.

                It’s not about guns and factions and foreign support…getting ‘the big guy’ on your side. (The ‘big guy’ is only on your side insofar as ‘the big guy’ is looking for some shit out of ‘the deal’.)

                The guy who’s lording it, is a bastard to be taken down. The guy who says he’s a good guy prepared to take the bastard down (while all the time only too willing to fill the power vacuum with his own interests) is also a bastard, worthy only of being taken down.

                It is the refusal to bend and scrape and bow and make deals with any of those who would assume a position of power over via any political, military or economic structure that sets us free from any ‘crushing’ that you speak of.

                It’s distain and refusal, and that alone.

              • muzza

                Good to see a reply Michael, although after the article I guess you didn’t really have much room to move, hence your response. Either that or you actually believe what you have written.

                “Which is why they were so damn unwilling to help the Libyans that Gaddafi nearly won, which would have seen slaughter on a horrific scale”

                A kiwi friend of mine worked in for ITV in the UK, and was posted in Libya for 2 years leading up to the “Kinetic Intervention”, she was also assigned
                to BBC during her time in the country. Her words to me were, and I quote ” I will never work in TV again after the lies they pulled to selling war to the
                public” – She said she could not believe the reality on the ground versus what she was watching the companies she worked for, putting on the screen
                to sell the demand for intervention by the gullible public, lapping up the distorted agenda. She simple said what she experienced in two years in the country
                was not even remotely in line with the media war sales pitch!

                I also have a friend who is a Libyan Doctor in the UK, her father is well known academic/doctor (MD), who was anti Ghadaffi, although she admits that there were many things he did
                which were to the greater good of Libya, and like the situation above, her father was regularly in Libya leading up to the war, and even currently as I understand it, could not believe the
                the lies he was seeing on TV compared to what he was seeing in Libya on the ground. They now openly admit the country was better off under Ghadaffi, than the AQ filled, inter tribal civil war. They know they have been lied to, and they know their country is now run by criminals, who will want the country in civil war, supported by the West!
                Both the Doctor, and her father, still state they are anti Ghadaffi, but openly admit that what they have now is far worse, and they regret what has happened to their country, as they feel people like themselves have contributed to an outcome they never thought they would see in Libya, and they are no longer the fans of NATO that they were 6-9 months ago!

                I’m not even going to go into the view point of yet another friend of mine, who now lives in asia – ex US Cavelry (as of late last year), and his views about the “Arab Spring” which he had an active part. He also served in Iraq and Afghastan, and has some rather telling stories from his experiences there too. None of which sound like your love fest for NATO!

                So Michael, for myself this is the sort of information that I use to form opinions, then I go looking for additional resources to see how it matches up from reports on the ground.
                Seems to me that you have done no such thing, and have written an incredibly inaccurate article, one which could well be responsible for some who read it, demanding intervention, which will lead to many more people dying, because they have been exposed to this kind of, well its propaganda isnt it !

                Your comment re – elaborate fantasies, should apply to the nonsense you have written, and is a dead give away for the fact that you have realised that the article you authored was a mistake, and desperate attempt to save face. The best way for you do to that is spend as long researching, and talking to people who have first hand accounts of Syria, and then think about writing another article, and see how it looks after you have put some honest effort into it. You can fund yourself a trip to the region by selling your nonsense article to FOX, CNN, BBC,SKY or one of the other warmonger media outlets, its their sort of writing, they would love it!

                This article is so factually out of line with reality, as do be dangerous!

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  I have a dog who’s previous owner’s girlfriend used to work for a guy who knew Dick Cheney’s secretary, and she says they know all about you.

                  Edit: masked assassins just killed my dog!!!!

                  • muzza

                    Lack of worldly experience, travel, meeting people , understanding etc, will lead a simple mind to feel threatened and resond with juvenile purile nonsense!

                    Its very easy to rubbish what other people have experienced, as opposed to actually listening, and maybe trying to learn something. Having nothing worthwhile to contibute, is not to feel bad about kotahi, people have differnet life experiences eh ;)

                    Well done showing yet again, what a very small mind with a large chip sounds like!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Yeah, but I wasn’t rubbishing their experiences, I was pointing out that your recollection of conversations you’ve had is no substitute for analysis, and in fact serves little purpose other than for you to once again pretend competence when you’re out of your depth.

                      One difference between us is that I know I’m out of my depth – hence the fact that I have confined myself to simply reading other comments, and watching the video discussions. How do I know I’m out of my depth? As a result of “worldly experience, travel, meeting people”.

                      These opinions you so loving coddle as though they are your own are nothing more than truther talking points.

                    • Bill

                      KTH.

                      Listening to people relating their first hand experiences and attendant thoughts/feelings usually offers far more insight to a situation than simply reading the analyses of people who are remote from a situation.

                      That’s not to say you can’t ‘be had’ or lied to. But if you know the people you are listening to, ie they are not random strangers or (worse) an individual trotted out by the news agencies with a story to tell, then what they say can usually be trusted and is a valuable source of information/understanding

                      Using that information as a measuring stick to guage the accuracy or veracity of any ‘remote’ analysis enhances overall understanding. ie, it nullifies or moderates the impact of the agenda of those who offer up (always) partial analysis.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Bill, fair enough, but you know how it is with telling stories: news media give away just as much by the way they report as what they report, and often the interesting stuff is what is missing entirely.

                      But there is a far bigger force at play than media mendacity here – the fog of war.

                      Alongside the individual narratives that come out of the fog – Iman al-Obeidi’s, for example – there are the many silent voices who only speak to us with a body-count (when there is one) and the grief they leave behind.

                      Which ones seem more compelling relies far more on our preconceived positions than any narrative weight.

              • Colonial Viper

                The West hasn’t helped overthrow Assad yet. They’re very hesitant to, for the reasons I outline in the post.

                “Help” comes in many forms. Putting rebels in touch with arms dealers and letting shipments reach Syria without being interdicted could be considered “help” could it not? Here is the following from Reuters:

                (Reuters) – Western and other countries are turning a blind eye to weapons purchases by Syrian exiles who are already smuggling light arms, communications equipment and night vision goggles to rebels inside Syria, a Syrian opposition source said Friday…

                “We are bringing in defensive and offensive weapons… It is coming from everywhere, including Western countries and it is not difficult to get anything through the borders,” the source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

                http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/24/us-syria-rebels-idUSTRE81N0ND20120224

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  CV what would you expect them (the exiles) to do? No matter what the motivation, whether it be a naked power-grab or a genuine democratic uprising (or some mixture of the two, or some fourth thing), this arms trade is inevitable.

                  As for “putting rebels in touch with arms dealers” I should think the arms dealers had that part covered – core business and all that.

                  Syria’s worst enemies live in Syria.

                  • thatguynz

                    “Syria’s worst enemies live in Syria.”
                    How do you know this KTH?  Is this not the same type of assertion or assumption that you have taken umbrage with Muzza making?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      No, just on the basis of events as reported by all sides. I am not saying that Syria has no external enemies, either – that would be naive.

                      What is beyond dispute however, is that the Syrian Army is “engaging” its own civilians. Hence my opinion.

                    • Bill

                      So everyone in Syria toting a gun is Syrian? Really!?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Bill, that’s a strawman.

                    • thatguynz

                      Sorry KTH but that is NOT beyond dispute at all and clearly highlights the point that has been raised – that you are looking at one “side” of the information that has been presented to you.
                       
                      Indulge me for a second with a hypothetical – if somebody was shooting at you and you were suitably equipped, would you shoot back? 
                       
                      My point is that you can apply that decision to both “sides” of the Syrian situation – both the Govt troops and the “uprising”/”insurgency”/”rebellion”/ or “civilians”.  To suggest or believe that it is solely “Govt troops = bad, Opposing parties = good” is as naive as what you purport to be the alternate view.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    thatguynz that’s another strawman. Nowhere have I passed judgement of what is happening. I lean towards the idea that shelling cities is a mistake, for reasons outlined by Sun Tzu a little while ago.

                    I’m not talking about the petrified forest of good and evil either – my feelings are that one side is wrong and the other side is worse. There is a gradient between them, however.

                    Other aspects stand out for me: Syria has been under “emergency law” since 1963. Not exactly the usual pattern we associate with benign rulers is it?

              • I can only explain your hideous display of ignorance as another Kiwi rejecting the notion of sound science and facts.

                You probably still believe 19 young Arabs can break the laws of physics and buildings do collapse into the path of most resistance in free fall speed after only a couple of hours of office fires and people with a ridiculously high IQ and a study to match that IQ are really big dumbo’s and rich pricks never ever conspire to get even more rich and powerful.

                You also probably think that General Wesley Clarke was lying when he announced in 2007 that he had known the list of 7 countries to be attacked in the next five (which obviously took longer than that)  years as far back as 10 days after 911 after what he describes as a policy coup.
                Or that people called upon by the German government to advice them on foreign policies are really stupid when they object to the secret shit stirring going on in Syria based on their years of study of international geopolitics. (He speaks English with a German accent that could be a dead give away)
                And you probably still believe that the handy uprisings occurring on the precise same moment the US an NATO are ready for another war are purely local and that the information reaching us through the lying scumbag internet about thousands of US troops training in Jordan (funnily another dictatorship we don’t have a problem with), Turkish, English and Qatari (another Dictatorship we don’t have a problem with) troops stirring shit in Syria.
                And perhaps you even think that people caught in the rendition program which took them to the Syrian and Libyan prisons curtsey of the CIA where they could get tortured by the very regimes the very same CIA is now trying to get rid of kind of must have deserved that treatment because the CIA would never ever do anything to innocent people and that the guy fired from al Jazeera for his CIA connections didn’t have anything to do with the CIA any more.

                And you probably still believe that our mainstream media are telling you the absolute truth judging by their filth you repeat here without a single critical thought.

                Do I like Assad? Hell no, but if even the people opposing him don’t want outside help than who am I to support another foreign intervention.
                And please Standardistas, you have worked so hard at making this a blog with some credibility it strikes me as very, very dangerous to let this crud appear on this blog without a single believable link supporting it and appearing to be a mainstream propaganda hit piece for another “liberating” war.

                • muzza

                  Ev remember that information and belief is a mindset that most people are not equipped or prepared to challenge inside their own self, mostly because if they did so, they might likely realise that they have been mislead, and most people do not like to come across foolish, or whatever that think it might mean, so they plow on looking foolish , while making no attempt to research other opinions, fact etc, and simply rubbish others , as loony or nutbar etc when they make an attempt to dive deeper into varied possibilities and understandings.

                  I just got off the phone with a close friend, and I mentioned that I was going down to Teal Park to show support for the warfies, and my mate who is well educated, articulate etc, began spouting all the MSM nonsense about over paid, underworked unskilled over unionized workers who should have to have wages driven down because thats what the market is etc blah blah…

                  Now I have spent quite of time learning about the council investing structures, what drives the indicators for performance SOI etc for the ACIL portfolio, and where the PoAL, AIAL, DFA, including direct communications with councilors, and regulatory people, and so of course challenged back to my friend with this info that he had no idea about. He did not concede only moved the discussion along other lines regarding free market, privatisation etc and how if the unskilled warfies cant adapt to competition then they should not be in their jobs because “anyone can do it”. He was not even aware that the pay rate is around $27ph, and that they do not get penal rates. He still was not fazed that his debate was based only on one side of the mainstream delivered media propaganda!

                  My point here is that many people are not for changing Ev, and my experience do not even have an open enough mind to explore available research, or respect those who have done it. They prefer to flat our ridicule others who go against “mass popular opinion”, like its something to be ashamed of!

                  I would be ashamed to find myself taking an opinion without taking in all available resources which ever side of the fence it comes from, so that I can have some degree of confidence that my opinion is based on broad information, and can be somewhat balanced. Contrary to what some poster on this thread has read into on my posts, I am not an expert, have never tried to say I was, or believe that my views are 100% correct. I only know that I have read and referenced loads of information from all media sources, then made a decision I am comfortable with, and have faith in, simple as that!

                  Put your energy into open minded people Ev, dont waste it on closed minds who are as responsible for the worlds ill, as those actually committing them directly!

                  • Hi Muzza,

                    Thank you for your kind words but I am not writing this to open closed minds. I’m writing this because there are a lot of lurking minds keen for more information. The closed minds are merely a pathway to those people who do want information to make up their own minds. :-)

      • Foreign Waka 5.2.3

        You have first hand information? Please share it with all of us because we are all sick of the propaganda war that besets us when the real one, killing people who have no idea (far less than we do) why all this is going on. This is a war for money, oil and influence – none of which is shared with the “commoner” in the street. In fact, because of that the future might may well be perceived to lie with the likes of Russia and China who have never proposed to attach “for democracy”.

  6. Bill 6

    Must admit I’ve more or less given up reading mainstream reports on Syria. The propaganda is obvious but coming too thick and fast to counter. Pepe Escobar and some others have written informative pieces that cut through a lot of the crap we’re being spoon fed. (google if you’re interested)

    Saddens me a bit to see that a ‘standard’ poster has bought the official line hook, line and sinker. Oh well.

    And I guess the comments will deteriorate into churlish accusations to the effect that any deviation from a nice black and white, right and wrong (where ‘right’ is what dovetails with the official line coming from the media) = unequivocal support for ‘the other side’.

    • muzza 6.1

      “Saddens me a bit to see that a ‘standard’ poster has bought the official line hook, line and sinker. Oh well”

      Indeed Bill, and the quality of the articles on this site are usually between good – excellent in my opinion. This article is simply dreadful, and spouts all sorts of uninformed/generalist propaganda, which reads like some red necks attempt at world news reporting.

      I look forward to reading a response from the author about their views, and perhaps and explanation about where they got them, because if I were writing an article such as this, I would be offering some balance, not my ignorant opinion, without so much as a single link!

  7. Wayne 7

    The simple fact is Westerners have no way of understanding what is really happening in that country.

    If one said that a random Syrian or Mongolian or Belarussian, from reading a few newspaper reports in his own country could have an informed opinion on NZ’s domestic affairs, the TOW, and biculturalism, he would be laughed out of court.

    Similarly from reading a few news articles in the Western media, most of which are barely trustworthy, we think we can have an informed opinion on Syria?

    The thing that strikes me is this. The protesters are runnign around with guns. In any country, if there is an armed uprising, the government will use force, in fact has a duty to use force to crush it.

    Just look at the massive overreaction of the NZ police to the stuff in the Ureweras. If those people really had come out firing guns, do you think the NZ govt response would be any more restrained than what the Syrian regime is doing now?

    And regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation, there also is the principle of non-intererence in the internal affairs of other countries. How would NZ like it if China or Russia started chiming in on the seabed and foreshore issue, or the Urewera’s trial?

    So no. Let the Syrians, the Iranians, the Chinese, whoever sort out their own internal affairs.

    • Blighty 7.1

      “Let the Syrians, the Iranians, the Chinese, whoever sort out their own internal affairs.”

      That’s a mandate for tyrants to rule and murder as much as they want. Should Pol Pot or Big H have been left alone to “sort out their own affairs”?

      • muzza 7.1.1

        News flash Blighty – The biggest tyrants and murders on the planet, are all anglo-saxon!

        Strange how you are not expecting the USA to sort out their intermal problems, or demanding someone go fix them on hehalf!

        In case you had not noticed, the Yanks passed legislation called the NDAA, which means they can arrest, and potentially kill (they already did this) US citizens, not only on US soil, but anywhere in the world, and make them disappear without any acceptable criminal proceedings! I suggest you do some reading, it might hurt for a while, but you will feel better for it, and informed people make better citizens eh!

    • Daveosaurus 7.2

      The simple fact is Westerners have no way of understanding what is really happening in that country.

      Would you care to try to explain precisely how that comment is not deeply racist?

  8. hybrid 8

    The conflict in Syria is a planned take over by North America and its Nato allies nothing more.
    Today in Tripoli the black al quiada flag fly’s proudly over the ministry of justice building,Libyans are now living in misery,most of the population were against the foreign led invasion and want the old system back,there is no security for its citizens and the country is run by militia’s.This is exactly the model required by the west to thieve that countries resources there are five thousand US troops guarding the oil port of Brega..Al Quaida governs Libya.

    So we are seeing yet another free soveriegn state being destabilized and looted by our allies (North America and the Nato club).The so called free syrian army has bases in turkey and is funded by saudi arabia and quatar who have boots on the ground,both these countries are in the pocket of the west.

    Nato countries are putting spy’s and provocateurs in Syria under the guise of journalists,some have been discovered but you wont read or hear about that in the mainstream media.
    One must remember that any state owned or corporate owned news agency follows the foreign policy of the west.Russia is rearming along with China because they will not let the free world be over run by corporate led western governments.

    To read the truth about Syria and Libya go to Lizzie Phelan.net
    Good luck to the free world.
    There’s no business like oil business!

    • Blighty 8.1

      What do the West get out of ‘taking over’ Syria? Its oil exports are negligible and its current ruler is cooperative. If you think this is all business then tell me where the profit is.

      And Al Qaeda and the US are jointly running Libya? Really?

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        *Shakes head*

        To play global geopolitics you have to look at a wider context and consider Syria as just one piece being attacked on the chess board.

        The basic questions are – who normally helps Syria in the region? Who does Syria normally support in the region? Which clubs is Syria in, and which clubs oppose Syria? What is important about Syria’s resources – not just oil, but land, location, waterways and other resources.

        There are some interesting answers there.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.2

      Of course. America uses Al Quaeda to take over countries. Now it all makes sense.

      Lame, and twisted, all at the same time. Truthiness just got truthier.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Of course. America uses Al Quaeda to take over countries. Now it all makes sense.

        Appeared to work for Iraq and Afghanistan, no?

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.2.1.1

          Yes, in witless paranoia land.

          • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1.1

            I guess you’re right. The Iraq war led by the US didn’t hand Iraqi governmental power over to AQ, it handed it over to pro-Iranian Government Shi’ite Muslims.

            Claims that Saddam Hussein and AQ were linked were never more than convenient fabrications to justify the invasion of Iraq to the US people.

            Nothing too paranoid or witless in all of this, eh? Just the incompetence and short sightedness of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Yep. SNAFU, not conspiracy. Neo-conservative economic incompetence doesn’t suddenly transform into Machiavellian brilliance in military strategy.

              The idea that people who believe in trickle down are smart enough to dream this up is hilarious. Or perhaps they’re playing a double-double-double game! Who can tell?

              But you know what really convinces me? You have ignored the power and influence of Buzz Aldrin and his ability to induce mass-hallucinations. Any narrative that ignores the ongoing power struggle between Aldrin and the HAARP cabal is obviously made up.

              • Colonial Viper

                *Shrug*

                The best of the best in the US are still extraordinary. The fact that their bosses are a bunch of self serving kleptocrats is neither here nor there.

                Yep. SNAFU, not conspiracy. Neo-conservative economic incompetence doesn’t suddenly transform into Machiavellian brilliance in military strategy.

                Remember, failure of the war does not equal failure of the fraud. Halliburton (Dick Cheney’s old company) did very well out of the protracted conflict and insurgency, for instance.

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  Taking advantage of gross incompetence to make a profit is a pretty standard business strategy. Halliburton’s have taken advantage of the disease in America’s body politic. To what extent are they the origin of the malaise? Carriers perhaps?

                  It is no more in our interests that America be unstable and rotten than it is in Syria’s or China’s. But to blame business for taking advantage is a cop out.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    But to blame business for taking advantage is a cop out.

                    uh, businesses of this type don’t believe in simply “taking advantage” when the opportunity happens to come along. They believe in proactively creating opportunities. A big difference.

                    And before you suggest that this is idle “paranoia”, the highly paid corporate lobbyists on capital hill are part of the machine which does just that.

              • felix

                “The idea that people who believe in trickle down are smart enough to dream this up is hilarious.”

                It’s cute that you think Cheney and Rumsfeld believe in trickle down.

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  Cute? Well then I’ll just flutter my eyelids.

                  I haven’t been able to concentrate on the Cheney Rumsfeld narrative for a while now (hours in the day etc.). I daresay this is a learning moment.

          • muzza 8.2.1.1.2

            Are you deliberately belligerent, or do you like to make an online fool of yourself , just because?

            Why do you openly ridicule what you clearly have not bothered to try and understand, its not that hard , really, and there is plenty of the mainstream media who you believe reporting various snippets of detail!

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8407047/Libyan-rebel-commander-admits-his-fighters-have-al-Qaeda-links.html

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.2.1.1.2.1

              Are you deliberately ignorant, or do you like to make an online fool of yourself, just because?

              Why do you openly pretend competence in a field in which you have no expertise? Why do you make up ridiculous strawman arguments? It’s not that hard to spot that you think reading newspaper reports and self-referencing nonsense is a substitute for understanding.

              Have I disputed the presence of AQ in Libya? We weren’t even talking about Libya you dribbling fuckwit. And had we been, you are no more an expert on that than you are on economics, politics, medicine, logic, reason, or any other damn thing.

              Yes, I think that ridicule is a bloody good razor, why does it not surprise me that you have a problem with that?

              • muzza

                “Yes, I think that ridicule is a bloody good razor, why does it not surprise me that you have a problem with that?”

                Translation – I am too lazy too stupid too self absorbed into my own AWESOMENESS, that bothering to make any attempt at well rounded balance is beyond me.

                The authors response referenced Libya, to which I replied, you ridiculed my response based on, what you know about my life, experiences or the people I know, which is approximately nothing.

                I have no problem with that at all, you just keep ridiculing, because it makes you look really clever ok!

                AWESOME!

                This is my last response to you, like Gosman, you are simply a waste of energy!

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  Are you serious? “Well-rounded balance?” Would that be your personal assessment of your own position? lol

                  I am generally unaware of my own confirmation bias – or it wouldn’t be bias, but at least I understand that it exists, rather than swaddling myself in delusions of “balance”.

                  Oh, and once again you’ve got a strawman: I ridiculed your response based on what I have seen of your comments – which as I say, demonstrate no expertise in any of the fields I mentioned.

                  But really, I find the subject of “Muzza” mind-numbingly tedious, so lets leave it there.

          • travellerev 8.2.1.1.3

            Here you go, the Al Qaeda flag waving from the Benghazi court house after the murder of Gaddafi.

            Here and here are some names you might want to check out and there are already 500-600 Libyan troops under the leadership of a known al Qaeda operative in Syria and did I mention that the new al Qaeda leaders of Libya have reintroduced Sharia law which was minimized under Gaddafi?

    • Vicky32 8.3

      To read the truth about Syria and Libya go to Lizzie Phelan.net

      I tried! It seems her site is closed down…

       

    • Bill 8.4

      Thanks for the link hybrid and Te Reo Putake.

  9. james 111 9

    It is amazing how much latitude the greatest socialist organization in the world the UN gives Muslim countries to murder their own people without stopping them.
    Then we have those lovely socialist countries like Russia, and China who dont care about all the people being murdered women, children,anyone .

    They give a free hand to let the killing continue they wont let other countries step in. Who would ever want to be ruled by a communist / socialist party such as those. Where there is zero respect for human life

    • thatguynz 9.1

      My gosh you’re dense James.  Your myopia is a thin veil for your profound lack of intelligence…

      • james 111 9.1.1

        What I say is true if the two Socialist countries or communist countries Russia & China had any value for human life.They would let peace keeping troops in now.No they veto it

        The other Arab countries want Peace keeping troops in there now. However these two countries and their misplaced ideaology which does not value human life let the attrocities continue

      • james 111 9.1.2

        So you agree with Russia & China heartless decision not to allow in peace keeping troops when the rest of the Arab world wants them in there.

        If so your thoughts can only be construed from blind ideaology as there are no hummanity values in them at all

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.2.1

          when the rest of the Arab world wants them in there.

          When you say “Arab world” you mean Qatar and Saudi Arabia, vassal states to the US?

          • james 111 9.1.2.1.1

            Yes and Turkey Egypt
            So you agree let the killing go on .You support the decision of your socialist brothers China and Russia. Your happy with women ,and babies being blown up.

            The world sits and watches paralised by Russia and China as they are happy to let the carnage continue. Where do you sit CV happy with Russia and Chinas Vetos just because they are Socialist countries? ,and their thought must be right and not challenged

            • Kotahi Tane Huna 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Shame! Shame on you, exploiting Syria’s tragedy to advance your politics.

              Goodness knows what Russia and China’s rationale for their positions are. You certainly don’t, James 111.

            • thatguynz 9.1.2.1.1.2

              What a completely inept one eyed muppet..  Far be it for me to defend Gosman but when he’s here he at least makes a pretense at semi-rational debate.
               
              Your jaundiced view and attempts at trolling are piss-poor at best.  You probably don’t even see the similarities between those that you denounce and those you revere…
               
              Dickhead.

              • james 111

                So Richard Cranium you agree with Russia &a and; Chinas Decision not to let in Peace Keeping troops and stop the killing of innocent civilians yes or no?

                • thatguynz

                  “Peace Keeping troops”
                  By who’s assessment?  Yours?


                  “killing of innocent civilians”
                  Again, by who’s definition?  I’m not in a position to confirm or dispute that the majority of casualties are innocent civilians.  Are you?


                  If however you’re asking whether I agree with Russia and China having the power of veto at the UN Security Council, no I don’t, but nor do I agree with the US having the same power.  Do you?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    james forgot that peace keeping troops can’t do their job if there is no peace to keep.

                  • Kotahi Tane Huna

                    The majority of casualties are innocent civilians. Don’t let any post-modern rationale affect your reading of this.

                    The Syrian army is deploying artillery against Syrian cities.

                    “The general who cannot master his anger orders his troops out.
                    Like ants. Sending one in three to their deaths. Without taking the city.

                    This is the calamity of siege warfare.”

                    Sun Tzu.

                    • thatguynz

                      Perhaps KTH but you can’t prove that just as much as I can’t disprove it (assuming I even wanted to).  Without independent observation/validation there is only one message coming out – that is the point.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Proofy schmoofy was a bear,
                      Proofy schmoofy lost his hair.
                      Then he wasn’t proofy, wussy?

                • Kotahi Tane Huna

                  james 111 when did your partner stop beating you?

                  • james 111

                    Kotahi
                    I think your particular race has some of the worst statistics in the World for beating each other . We dont beat in our family we discuss. We listen to each others opinion again because we arent blinded by ideaology.
                    Go spread the word amongst your Whanau might be a very positive thing for them to learn get the tribalism out of their lives

                    • thatguynz

                      Yet again you prove that you are simply a racist prick..
                       
                      I can only hope that one of the mods will see your continuation of this crap and you’ll get another breather to potentially grow some semblance of a brain (although I doubt your ability to do so).

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      It is wrong to mock the afflicted James 111, so ethics require that I come clean to inform you that “Kotahi Tane Huna” translates as “One Anonymous Bloke”. Racism is a disease of the spirit. See your doctor.

                    • McFlock

                      That response was just so wrong on so many levels that Sacha Baron Cohen would have been proud. I’m not sure anything in jimmy3’s answer was factually correct, contextually relevant, or morally acceptable.
                      Just wow.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Just for James, to establish my spiritual and racial purity, perhaps, I should change to “Un dyn Anhysbys”. No?

        • thatguynz 9.1.2.2

          That’s not what I said.  Do you even proof read the tripe that you write or does it just dribble out in a steady stream of idiocy?
           
          I suggest you actually read a bit about what is or may be going on in Syria before you come in here parroting what you read on Fox news or some such..  ie. Apply some critical thought to the process – it’ll do you wonders.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 9.2

      This is your response to the ongoing murder in Syria?

      A cheap jibe about Socialism (a mindset that is thoroughly foreign to yours) in place of something genuine?

      Shame on you.

    • muzza 9.3

      The UN have a selective policy of interference James, usisng them as an example of what not to do, is entirely accurate!

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 9.3.1

        Remind me again what sort of interference policy shouldn’t be selective would you. Please.

  10. Kotahi Tane Huna 10

    Let’s say Russia and China come around to the idea of co-ordinated interference with the Syrian rulers’ military capability.

    What then?

    “In war, better to take a state intact than to destroy it.”
    Sun Tzu.

    Take it for whom? The Syrians? Which ones?

    I choose the ones who plan to hold democratic elections. And I choose the strategy that attacks Assad’s strategy before it attacks Syria’s army.

  11. Mike 11

    My oh My…I have never read such a load of claptrap in all my life. You my friend would have to be either a shill or the most brainwashed, ignorant, uninformed, and pathetic non intellectual Kiwi that I have ever had the mis-fortune to come accross on the WWW.
    Hey… If you feel so strongly about it, I’m sure you could go to Syria & offer yourself as a volunteer any time you like.
    I was going to call you a moron but I didn’t want to insult morons, as most of them would be able to say at least one intelligent thing on a blog the size of the one you just wrote.
    Do youself a favour mate…turn off the idiot box.

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  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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