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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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    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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