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Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Written By: - Date published: 7:09 am, April 20th, 2015 - 148 comments
Categories: International, journalism, war - Tags: , ,

This public service message brought to you by The Herald, yesterday:

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This frenzy of breathless fear mongering is ostensibly prompted by the warnings of a “global expert in extreme events”. From the anonymous editorial (first image above):

Herald on Sunday editorial: Terror threats are our new reality

Terrorists must, because of their inherent weakness, select soft targets.

Stop right there anonymous editorialist. Soft targets like New York, London, and The Pentagon? Soft targets like the USS Cole, American embassies, American air bases, and American military bases? I hope that nonsense is not representing the views of your expert.

Few may be softer than a country that likes to think it is closeted by its isolation. An air of complacency prevails even though examples of terrorism, notably the Bali bombings and last year’s Sydney hostage crisis, have taken place very close to home. This makes New Zealand something of a “sitting duck”, according to Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, an expert in the field. Her warning should be taken seriously, especially as it echoes the concerns of this country’s Security Intelligence Service.

Total terrorist attacks (as defined in this framing) in sitting duck NZ are zero.

I am not any kind of expert on these topics*, but it seems to me that (1) terrorist attacks are not limited to soft targets, (2) most terrorist attacks are directed against major military powers, and (3) it follows that fear mongering based on our “sitting duck” / weak and insignificant status is nonsense. An attack may happen here, as it may happen anywhere, but as a “sitting duck” our chances are reduced, not increased.

What terrible writing and coverage by The Herald.


*Oddly enough both my wife (in England) and I (in India) have each missed bombings by a few hours, and together we narrowly missed an unexploded bomb situation (in England). So yeah, I know it does happen.

148 comments on “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

  1. Sable 1

    One word: propaganda.

    • Colonial Rawshark 1.1

      Second word: propagandists.

      No doubt some of these journos have been given a look at “confidential” reports from NZ’s spy services underlining how under threat and exposed we are. So the journos are “breathless” at the special access they have received.

      • Gareth 1.1.1

        Do I have the wrong person, or is their terrorism expert a lecturer on Business and Economics?

        https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/bsul002

        • Murray Rawshark 1.1.1.1

          That’s her. She seems to globetrot, churning out the message on behalf of the spy state. She’s even got her own webpage:

          http://www.bsullivan-taylor.com/

          • Gareth 1.1.1.1.1

            So how the hell does lecturing uni students about “achieving sustained competitive advantage, innovation and corporate resilience” in any way qualify her to talk about how vulnerable our state is to terrorists?

            Why would the Herald call her “an expert in the field”?

            • Murray Rawshark 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I suspect she has links to something like Serco and achieves a sustained competitive advantage for them. Private security is big business, and for them the more fear around, the better.

        • Hah!

          To be fair, she’s half right. Terrorists choose targets that, relatively speaking, are soft targets. But they choose the softest high-impact target.

          This strategy won’t work well in New Zealand, as our high-impact targets are so few and far between that inevitably there is an increased awareness of security around them. New Zealand has the same sort of defense-through-obscurity advantage in counter-terrorism as Macs have for antivirus programs, and it shouldn’t be ignored for people to panic-monger.

          We still need some security, but we don’t need at all the time everywhere like the Herald is implying.

    • Chooky 1.2

      +100 Sable ….and projection….whereby the aggressor reverses the threat…it is part of an international campaign…who has de-stabilised the Middle East ?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    • DH 1.3

      “One word: propaganda.”

      I’ve had the same thought for a while now. Ever since the Govt decided to send troops to Iraq the press have been printing stories that, often quite subtly, justify the decision to go. It’s been quite manipulative.

      Prior to the Govt decision the press really didn’t say much about the ME, sure they printed the usual feeds from the international media but that was just in the format of ‘world news’.

  2. logie97 2

    From memory the only “recent” terrorist act in New Zealand was by a “Friendly Nation” in the Port of Auckland on 10 July 1985.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      +1

    • Mike S 2.2

      And that wasn’t a terrorist attack designed to terrify the population. It was an attack on a clearly defined target which was seen as a political threat. It was more an act of war than an act of terrorism. Either way, it was despicable and cowardly.

  3. vto 3

    John Key has caused this by sending our troops to fight some of Americas wars.

    It was intentional.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Yep. We weren’t anywhere a terrorist would attack until such time as this government decided we should go off and help the US attack other nations.

    • Weepus beard 3.2

      TPR thinks it’s great. Myself, I’d rather see much, much more effort go into exploring other non-interventionalist ways to stop terrorist groups in the middle east from flourishing.

      • Naturesong 3.2.1

        Like cutting off their supply of arms and money?

        And having a conversation about the Middle East that involves facts, history and context?

        This is New Zealand, don’t expect those things anytime soon.

        • Mike S 3.2.1.1

          “Like cutting off their supply of arms and money?”

          Then the USA and Great Britain would lose revenue from arming these groups

  4. vto 4

    Meaning of terrorism: “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

    recent terrorist attacks in NZ;

    French government on Rainbow Warrior in Auckland 1985 killing Fernando Periera
    Unknown blowing up Wellington Trade Union Hall 1982 killing Ernie Abbott
    Gunshots fired through Hone Harawira’s electorate office last year.
    Unite Union offices attacked last week.

    All terrorism

    All by the right wing of the political spectrum

    • We can broaden the definition a little and add:

      – desecration of Jewish graves by neo-Nazis on a regular basis
      – the 2005 series of attacks on Auckland mosques
      – the firebombing of and bomb threats against abortion clinics in the 1980s

      … and we’re still talking about terrorism committed by the extreme right/conservative ends of the spectrum.

      • Jones 4.1.1

        What about the Urewera raids…? I guess based on the definition they were official, so they don’t count… what rubbish!

      • vto 4.1.2

        Yes Stephanie, sheesh, I suspect if all terrorist acts committed in New Zealand were listed out it would be considerable.

        And the right wing has some questions to answer over their actions ………. in the same way they demand answers from the muslims for the jihadis ….

      • Liberal Realist 4.1.3

        Terrorism in New Zealand started with Europeans landing on these shores and didn’t stop until well after the ‘land wars’ had been concluded.

    • Markm 4.2

      You obviously don’t get out much Vto , if you did you would hardly describe a French Government as right wing especially as the President who ordered the bombing , Francois Mitterand was leader of the SOCIALIST party.

      You also claim 3 other acts of terrorism by right wing members yet these crimes as far as I know are unsolved with no suspects.
      You obviously have inside information which I assume you will pass on to the police , otherwise you could be accused of aiding and abetting terrorism.

      Maybe next time you want to make outlandish accusations you should think first.

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.2.1

        You obviously don’t get out much Vto , if you did you would hardly describe a French Government as right wing especially as the President who ordered the bombing , Francois Mitterand was leader of the SOCIALIST party.

        As you know, “Left” and “Right” in French politics is relative. In France, our Labour Party would be considered a centre right party.

        Europe is also full of “SOCIALIST” parties who support austerity economics and the military industrial surveillance complex.

      • vto 4.2.2

        There is nothing outlandish whatsoever. Left wing organisations in New Zealand suffered terrorist attacks for political, right wing purposes.

        Apologists like you are the danger

    • Murray Rawshark 4.3

      Fernanda Pereira’s murder was neither unofficial nor unauthorised. Legally, I considered it an act of war rather than terrorism.

      • vto 4.3.1

        Yep, and this exactly explodes the myth.

        “Legally”, ha ha. “Legally” under French law? legally under NZ law ? legally under what law murray rawshark? sharia law? Islamic law?

        The line you walk is so very thin as to disappear when you look too closely

        • Murray Rawshark 4.3.1.1

          From Lloyd Duhaime’s International Law Dictionary:
          War Definition:
          The use of violence and force between two or more states to resolve a matter of dispute.

          Keep laughing if it makes you feel better.

          • vto 4.3.1.1.1

            the laughing is even more involuntary after reading that

            Reliance on semantics to distinguish between same killings make you feel better?

            Seems to with most people….

            • Murray Rawshark 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Trying to pretend other people are saying something they’re not makes you feel better. That’s a statement, not a question. You do it all the bloody time and it doesn’t contribute to reasonable discussion on any topic.

              • vto

                What have you not said that I pretended you did say then mr precious?

                I don’t see anything

              • vto

                I would also still be interested to understand how you come to this conclusion about the Rainbow Warrior too…. “Legally, I considered it an act of war rather than terrorism.”

                It was the nature of the point after all …….

    • In Vino 4.4

      I dispute this. I think your definition of terrorism is too broad and allows you to include non-terrorists..

      I believe that terrorists try to spread terror by randomly hitting as many unaware civilian victims as possible. Terrorists do not give warnings to their victims to try to reduce casualties. No minor warning blasts at Bali, or on the London underground to warn guests/passengers to get clear. They take out as many casualties as they can. That is how and why it becomes “Terror”. They want maximum casualties. Your definition fails to include this essential element.

      I therefore disagree with your inclusion of the Rainbow Warrior among acts of terrorism. It was foul and lethal sabotage of the lowest order, and those responsible are as guilty as sin. But it was not terrorism. The filthy saboteurs let off a preliminary warning blast to make all crew leave the ship. The crew all did so. Terrorists do not try to save lives like that. So get real.

      Fernando then made the conscious decision to run back onto the boat to recuperate his valuable photography work. He was desperately unlucky – he was still aboard when the main charge went off, killing him. I am not excusing the dirty saboteurs nor those who sent them, but calling this terrorism is foolish because it clouds the debate and leads us ever closer to Orwell’s ‘Newspeak’

      Unless, of course, you can quote other cases where Terrorists let off minor warning blasts to warn their victims to get clear. I doubt that you can.

      • In Vino 4.4.1

        I would add that we must be careful of where we get our definitions from. vto’s definition of terrorism comes from where? If you take the definitions that the Newspeak people want you to, the definitions are likely to be loose, and suit the aims of the merchants of Newspeak.

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.4.1.1

          I concur. The security and surveillance state wishes to be able to label *everything* as terrorism in order to justify the heavy handed and extraordinary powers that they have been granting themselves.

          The Left should not be helping them out by buying into this deliberate state sponsored hysteria.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.4.2

        The filthy saboteurs let off a preliminary warning blast to make all crew leave the ship. The crew all did so.

        Yes, I agree that blowing people up is a great way to warn them.

        /sarc

        Unless, of course, you can quote other cases where Terrorists let off minor warning blasts to warn their victims to get clear.

        Israel does that. IMO, the ‘warning blast, adds to the terror.

        The problem that you have is that the definition of terrorism actually does include entities such as the US, Israel and a few other countries.

        • In Vino 4.4.2.1

          Your sarc point makes no sense because nobody was blown up by the minor warning explosion. We are talking about people on a boat.

          Regarding your last sentence, what definition of terrorism are you referring to? I think any definition has to have my contribution included – the desire to kill/maim as many possible innocents with no warning. If you do not include that, you are, in my arrogantly humble opinion, aberrant.

          Warning people to get clear – is that part of terrorism? Over-subtle, I think. Maybe Israel is so subtle…

          • Colonial Rawshark 4.4.2.1.1

            Not “terrorism”: psy-ops.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.4.2.1.2

            Regarding your last sentence, what definition of terrorism are you referring to?

            I tend to use the dictionary definition.
            Terrorism

            1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
            2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
            3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

            I think any definition has to have my contribution included – the desire to kill/maim as many possible innocents with no warning. If you do not include that, you are, in my arrogantly humble opinion, aberrant.

            Nope. Just the use of violence to induce terror. It doesn’t even have to kill people.

            Warning people to get clear – is that part of terrorism?

            So, you don’t think anybody is going to be terrified when a bomb goes off near them which promises a bigger bomb shortly with no idea as to where that bigger bomb is going to be?

          • felix 4.4.2.1.3

            “Your sarc point makes no sense because nobody was blown up by the minor warning explosion. We are talking about people on a boat.”

            You are now arguing that setting off an explosion on a civilian boat full of civilians doesn’t count as violence designed to instill fear in civilians for political ends as long as you do it twice.

            So I guess we can add boat safety to the growing list of things you know fucking nothing about.

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.4.2.2

          Israel does that. IMO, the ‘warning blast, adds to the terror.

          An utterly different and incomparable situation to the Rainbow Warrior bombing.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.4.2.2.1

            But it still comes under the definition of terrorism, specifically, the governing through terror bit.

            • In Vino 4.4.2.2.1.1

              Maybe your dictionary is not perfect and all-encompassing.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The dictionary meaning is fine. You’re the one trying to manipulate the meaning of words for political advantage.

      • McFlock 4.4.3

        I believe that terrorists try to spread terror by randomly hitting as many unaware civilian victims as possible. Terrorists do not give warnings to their victims to try to reduce casualties.

        The IRA would issue warnings to allow evacuations. They even had codewords to verify the legitimacy of the warning. The best outcome for PFLP terrorists was to have their demands met with zero fatalities.

        Different flavours of terrorists have different measures. The last decade or two have seen inflictions of casualties to elicit a desired reflexive response, sometimes successfulk (Madrid trains bombings) sometimes not (Breivik).

        Others seem to use it as a recruitment tool to retain global relevance and attract disgruntled teens and people seeking significance through a final public act (even if he can’t even bring the right flag, he can work a shotgun).

        But the infliction of casualties (particularly civilian casualties) is not necessarily required to achieve a given objective.

        • In Vino 4.4.3.1

          OK.. Impressive, but I still wonder where terrorism (hitting innocent public) becomes different from incisive military action/sabotage.

          I agree that the exclusion of drone attacks is problematic in the current understanding (or lack thereof) of terrorism.

          • vto 4.4.3.1.1

            where do you get off justifying to yourself the bombing by the French government of a civilian target in New Zealand waters, killing someone?

            it is you who needs to think again.

            you clearly seem to think that the rainbow warrior was some sort of legitimate military target.. nutter

            • In Vino 4.4.3.1.1.1

              I quite clearly stated that it was foul and lethal sabotage of the lowest order. That is no kind of justification. Not to myself or anyone.

              Legitimate military target? Are you joking? I questioned only whether it was actually terrorism. And how we define terrorism.

              And whether a loose definition helps Orwellian Newspeak.

              You seem to be right into Orwellian Newspeak ranting .

              • Draco T Bastard

                I quite clearly stated that it was foul and lethal sabotage of the lowest order.

                It was terrorism. Maybe not against NZ but definitely against Greenpeace members.

                You seem to be right into Orwellian Newspeak ranting .

                Actually, that would be you as you try to manipulate the meaning of words for your own political ends.

              • vto

                Well go look up an alternative definition of “terrorism”. It aint hard. The one I selected popped up easily and contained the same components as most all other definitions.

                If you don’t like the definition provided then what is yours?

                • Colonial Viper

                  its ridiculous to try and label these incidents “terrorism” because it is the power elite which morally defines if an incident is terrorism, not a dictionary.

                  • vto

                    Well yes and no. Sure the power elite are trying to twist what terror constitutes to their own political advantage…. but that is wrong and that is what drives the points being made…….

                    A real, dictionary, definition of terror is what defines it, not the power elite…. well it should be….

                    resist the power elite CV, resist,… don’t take it lying down ……

          • logie97 4.4.3.1.2

            … at least one person was killed by that act of terror. (no-one was killed???? – bollocks)

          • McFlock 4.4.3.1.3

            Military action is against military targets that have a military purpose.

            The farther away from those targets are from having a military purpose or the larger the civilian harm that engaging those targets results in, the closer those actions are to “terrorism” than legitimate military activity.

            Carpet bombing of cities targeting civilians to “break morale” is the definition of terrorism. Targeting a ball-bearing plant is closer to a strategic military aim. Targeting everything within 5 miles is less close.

            Drone (or in Israel’s case helicopter-borne missile strikes a few years back) involve significant civilian casualties to kill the given military leadership target. This is especially the case when drone strikes are based on crowd pattern behaviour, resulting in wedding parties being bombed and there wasn’t even an actual enemy there.

            Bombing a civilian protest ship, even without casualties, is a violent action designed to inhibit and discourage legitimate protest action (it it were illegitimate, a simple arrest at the time would suffice). Pretty damned close to terrorism, really.

      • vto 4.4.4

        “Unless, of course, you can quote other cases where Terrorists let off minor warning blasts to warn their victims to get clear. I doubt that you can.”

        IRA. That northern Spanish lot. There are plenty.

        You are attempting to self-justify “your side”. The definition is straight out of the dictionary. Deal with it.

        Acknowledge the terrorist events that have happened in NZ…. or keep your blinkers on

    • Mike S 4.5

      The rainbow warrior attack wasn’t terrorismn. It wasn’t designed to cause terror amongst the New Zealand population. Rather it was the attack and destruction of a specific target to neutralize what was seen as a political threat.

      In fact none of your examples are examples of terrorism. They are all criminal attacks on specific targets for reasons known only to the perpetrators but were clearly not done to terrorize the population.

      • vto 4.5.1

        your understandings are inadequate

      • Draco T Bastard 4.5.2

        Rather it was the attack and destruction of a specific target to neutralize what was seen as a political threat.

        It’s the political dimension that makes it a terrorist attack.

      • The Murphey 4.5.3

        Concur

      • Puddleglum 4.5.4

        Like so many state-sanctioned acts of terror its prime terror target is those who may follow the lead of a good example.

        That is, it is not the entire population who is being directly terrorised but, in mafia fashion, it is the making of examples in order to cow members of a population who may be troublesome.

        Or do you not think, for example, that show trials in Stalinist Soviet Union were acts of terror against opponents of Stalin? Do tyrants not terrorise potential opposition?

      • weka 4.5.5

        . It wasn’t designed to cause terror amongst the New Zealand population. Rather it was the attack and destruction of a specific target to neutralize what was seen as a political threat.

        Yes, but it was also terrorism directed at the people of Greenpeace

    • emergency mike 4.6

      I second esoteric pineapples’ recommended article. In which Glenn Greenwald states the best and most concise definition of terrorism I’ve ever seen: “a term of propaganda, a means of justifying one’s own state violence.”

      “Even the most decorated and honored “terrorism experts” are little more than ideological propagandists, because that’s what the term necessarily entails.”

      • vto 4.6.1

        Yes I think that gets in the direction needed.

        That satisfies the problem I had with murray rawsharks one above about “legally” being war rather than terror because it is “authorised”.. all semantics, or propaganda

        • Murray Rawshark 4.6.1.1

          Your problem is with yourself. I said the murder of Fernando Pereira fitted the international legal definition of an act of war. It didn’t fit your definition of terrorism, which mentions things such as “unauthorised” and “unofficial”. Or have you changed your definition since then?

          Satisfying the legal definition of an act of war doesn’t mean it was OK. You get many atrocious acts during a war, for example the bombing of Dresden, or the massacre at My Lai. It also doesn’t mean that every target that gets hit is a legitimate military target. Nor does it mean that the war is legitimate, let alone the acts committed within it.

          If you don’t agree with a definition, don’t post it as if you are following it.

          • vto 4.6.1.1.1

            No you are wrong. “I said the murder of Fernando Pereira fitted the international legal definition of an act of war.”

            You did say that, but you did not show it. You did this in two instances. One about any action being “unauthorised”… and another about action “between two states”….

            First you said that if the act was “authorised” then it is not a “terror act” but rather an “act of war”. You need to establish the “authorisation – the who and how they are somehow authorised to so “authorise”

            Second you said it required acts between two states to resolve dispute. I am still waiting for you to identify the facts to fit this formula too.

            The Rainbow Warrior event did not fit the legal definition of an act of war.

            No definitions have been changed anywhere.

            Over to you.

  5. David H 5

    Why does the word Bullshit always come to mind when they blather along about this?? As I refuse to watch Paul farkin Hernry. The airheads on TV1 are all abuzz with this. And a ban on cars going to Mt Eden. And Tony ‘the wingnut’ Abbott is in Wellington Oh who farkin cares. Time to have fun getting my son ready for Day care, at least he makes way more sense than the ‘airheads’ on TV1.

  6. vto 6

    Meaning of terrorism: “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

    So then if it is official or authorized then it is not terrorism……….

    what a joke

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    The two faces of ANZAC Day: some remember the fallen and some seek to add to their number.

    You can identify the latter because they constantly invoke fear and patriotism, often, as in this case, at the same time.

  8. vto 8

    The call from these Herald commentators should not be “are we safe at the mall?”….

    It should be “are we safe in a left wing organisation?”…..

    it is these who have been subjected to terrorism in NZ. See 4 above.

    Do these Herald commentators not know their history? If not then they are worthless.

  9. Anne 9

    According to Rebecca Kitteridge the level has risen but not by much and we can feel safe going about our daily business…

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/20175123/insight-for-19-april-2015-how-real-terrorism-threats-in-nz

    The media doing their normal – grossly exaggerating for the sake of sensationalism.

    • Anne 9.1

      … and as Nate suggests below:

      Anything to keep the China spying revelations out of the spotlight!

  10. Charles 10

    What if we don’t want to be afraid? What then?
    What if we want to sit at muffin break in a mall, then go to Jeans West for a pair of jeans, because we can afford it, finally, even if a family could eat for a week on the $79 they’ll cost?
    What if we had to save up for this little outing into White World and are old enough to know what waits for the young people who bring us our muffin, because when you were young you carried muffins too.
    What about if you’re old enough to see they know it, and they aren’t scared either, not of a bomb going off – their rage is barely containable, through their smiles.
    What if you’re not as old as the people telling you to be afraid. What then?
    What if the only thing you think, behind the white skin on your face, is that you hope the “terrorists” put a bomb under your chair, so you can go out for the sake of a muffin – something worth more than all the destructive ideas your culture sold you, the ideas you now can’t help but buy.
    What if you aren’t afraid of death.
    What if behind your “dead white eyes” – as people who have never met you keep saying you’ll have – you hope the “terrorists” pick a day at The Beehive when they’re all there, sitting, fat, self-satified and malicious.

    • Hateatea 10.1

      Why is it that you wrote the last sentence?

      I may dislike intensely some of the current politicians but they too are someone’s partner, son, daughter, mother, father, or sibling. They are not all fat, self-satisfied and malicious just as New Zealand is not peopled only by politicians.

      In my opinion, wishing harm to anyone for any reason is the first step along the pathway to justification of violence while rejoicing in harm to some person or organisation is the second.

      In order for us to claim the moral high ground, we need to speak, write, and act in a moral, ethical and considered fashion rather than mirror the jingoism of those who may wish us ill.

  11. saveNZ 11

    The last ‘terrorist’ attack in NZ was by France with the Rainbow Warrior.

    Totally agree that we are now only getting propaganda and entertainment from our MSM. Love the hysterical rants of imminent terror attack with the ‘softer’ deflection from Spying and War to the golden standby in NZ – property and property prices and sports.

    Again on the propaganda stakes from the Granddaddy…

    On the pic for Support for the Nats the Herald had a picture of JK and Mark Osborne together last night, now taken down and replaced by Winston.

    No wonder the figures are so good for JK, the MSM are full time campaign managers to the Nats especially the Herald!

    “Marvellous”

  12. Pasupial 12

    I wouldn’t be that surprised if the NZH was to have headlines claiming that; IS terrorists were gene-splicing with insects to create super-warriors poised to swarm onto our shores. Brundle-fly jihadis.

  13. vto 13

    here is an idea to ease the threat of actions from middle east peoples

    the West stop invading middle east peoples

  14. Nate 14

    Definitely a case of scaremongering to allow the Spying on China to either go unnoticed or be fully justified…?

  15. The Murphey 15

    Coordinated fear-mongering on both sides of the Tasman by the corporate media

    One can speculate what might happen should the public begin to outwardly reject the propaganda

  16. Colonial Rawshark 16

    ISIS leadership and strategy methodical – staffed by former Saddam officers made unemployed by the USA

    In addition to the spying on China incident, it seems to me that our “allies” are the ones who are making us more insecure.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-19/isis-strategy-leak-reveals-syrian-takeover-plot-us-created-group-very-intelligent-en

  17. Stuart Munro 17

    Yes it has been bloody obvious and odious. I’m with Sam Neil on this.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/67832372/sam-neill-anzac-should-never-be-used-to-justify-war

  18. weka 18

    Well I’m scared, and angry. Not of terrorists, but of the role the MSM media is playing in turning us into a fear ridden puppet of the US/5 eyes. It’s not like this dynamic is unknown, so I can only go with they’re either doing this as willing participants in Key’s agenda (for whatever reason) or they don’t care.

    • vto 18.1

      Yes I am confused as to whether to be scared/worried too…

      is this all real? history is repeating? what would our dead think?

  19. Hateatea 19

    A must read found amongst the blogs on the right of this post.

    http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/an-unwilling-ambassador-in-the-war-on-terror

  20. Sanctuary 20

    Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor has been brought out here by Auckland University to fear-monger up some business for the University. Many will be the short courses run, and analysis commissioned, for lots and lots of $$$.

    The real story here is one of our largest universities has abandoned reason and knowledge in favour of fear-mongering to pimp it’s “experts” services, just so it can turn a dime.

    • Murray Rawshark 20.1

      You’re talking about the Business School. Since when have they been associated with reason and knowledge?

  21. Maui 21

    It’s a pity the media aren’t so good at addressing and investigating real security threats in nz from middle-aged white men. Jan Molenaar and Russell Tully, cases in point.

    • vto 21.1

      what do you think their whiteness has to do with it?

      • felix 21.1.1

        We’re being told to watch out for Islamic terrorists, which generally translates to brown-skinned people.

        And yet…

        • Maui 21.1.1.1

          Yeah I guess discussing the issues of mental illness and our social services isn’t quite as sexy as the possibility of IED’s being setup along the route to the local Pakn Save.

  22. Scaremongering.

    Let us be honest about the realities of terrorism and New Zealand. Without totally and – perhaps irrationally – discounting the threat, why are we considered one of the safer countries in the world? Why are we considered one of the more responsible countries in the world?

    The answer all comes down to this:

    We are a nation that has generally played its cards on the international stage in a respectable nation, have tried to be fair in our dealings and respected the sovereignty of other nations whilst maintaining that we abhor human rights abuses and other breaches of international law.

    Why do the media and the Government now consider a threat to exist? Perhaps it is time to have a look at their agenda. Perhaps it is time to look at why people don’t want New Zealand involvement in foreign wars that are of little benefit to us or what we stand for.

    I am very proud as a New Zealander to live in a country that tries for the most part to abide by international law and be a respectable member of the international community. I absolutely believe a small island nation should not behave in a reckless or cavalier way on the world stage. I also just as absolutely believe we should not not be engaging in the politics of fear, creating enemies to make the public believe there is a threat in order to make them believe in the policies of the fearmongers.

    And rather than call asylum seekers and refugees who have been to Hell and back, threats, lets try to understand why the heck they choose to come out to New Zealand. We just might learn something.

  23. Kriss X 23

    One only has to visit another kiwi blog to see how well the propaganda is working as a justification for war and other agendas.

  24. I will simply add that the lecturer who penned the scare-mongering hysterical piece has no demonstrable experience with terrorism or counter-terrorism, much less the broader geopolitical and ideological context. She makes a false comparison with the US and UK, acting as if the threat environment here is equivalent to those of these countries and Australia, and stating that NZ should emulate them when it comes to mall security. That is simply not true.

    Moreover, just because al-Shabbab carried out one successful mall attack in Kenya and called for others in the US, UK and Canada does not mean that they have the capability of doing so anywhere else. In reality, those calls have gone unheeded and security authorities in those states have not appreciably increased their warnings about attacks on malls as a result.

    Let us be clear: no mall in the US (and the UK as far as I know) requires bag and ID checks in order to be go shopping. So the claim that they do is a lie. I mean, really. Can you imagine the reaction of the average US citizen to being asked to produce an ID before being allowed into Walmart or any one of the thousands of malls that exist in the US? Heck, they might pull out a firearm and say that their name is Smith and Wesson!

    Anyway, the costs of of engaging enhanced security measures will be prohibitive for many businesses and even if adopted will be passed on to the consumers, which in turn could drive away customers in an age when they can shop on line. So it is not going to happen. The use of CCTV, coordination with local security authorities and hiring of private security guards suffices in the US and UK, so it surely can suffice here.

    I will leave aside the democratic principles at stake, one of which is that you do not restrict the freedom of movement of everyone on the pretext of stopping a potential act of mass violence. And even if you were do do so, who is to say that evil doers would not switch targets to, say, transportation hubs or entertainment districts in downtown areas. Are we going to then go on to lock down every place where people congregate? Lets get real.

    In sum, what we got from the Herald was an article that used a false comparison from someone who is clueless but who somehow got interviewed by a rube reporter as if she was an expert in order to justify a call for a hysterical and impractical overreaction, which the Herald then used to write a fear-mongering editorial that contradicts what our own intelligence agencies are saying about the risk of terrorist threats on home soil. Geez. Perhaps hyping up security and sacrifice in the lead-in to the Anzac Day commemorations has something to do with it?

    There is only one indisputable fact when it comes to terrorism and NZ. Joining the fight against IS/Daesh increases the threat of terrorist attack on Kiwis and NZ interests, not so much here at home but in the Middle East where IS/Daesh has a broad reach. Although the Gallipoli commemorations will likely not be affected due to the security measures put in place by the Turks (who do not fool around when it comes to security), the risks to individual or small groups of Kiwis in the ME–say, tourists, aid workers, diplomats or business people– are increased as a direct result of NZ involvement in the anti-IS/Daesh coalition. The emphasis should be on their safety, not on that of local malls.

    An absolutely wretched effort by the Herald.

    • Do you think that deliberate engagement in the politics of fear might be to corral the public into believing something that does not – at least as we know – is a threat, in order to impose some sort of order or agenda?

      • Mike S 24.1.1

        Yep. There will be some sort of further diminishing of our rights at some stage further down the track and this will be used as justification.

        • Colonial Rawshark 24.1.1.1

          This is the same old strategy that declining empires have used on their own populations for centuries. Problem is that it’s no longer just an historical curiosity but a fact that we are living within.

          • greywarshark 24.1.1.1.1

            I imagined this and it was funny, and then it seemed too close to the likelihood, in that neighbourhood, so not funny.
            Can you imagine the reaction of the average US citizen to being asked to produce an ID before being allowed into Walmart or any one of the thousands of malls that exist in the US? Heck, they might pull out a firearm and say that their name is Smith and Wesson!

            If the murders done by Charles Manson’s group happened now I suppose they would be identified as terrorists. But they were under a different sort of compulsion and mindset.

    • r0b 24.2

      Thanks for that comment Paul.

    • Anne 24.3

      Hey Paul Buchanan,

      When the MSM come a’callin… for your take on this “increased threat”, I sincerely hope you speak as frankly and passionately as you have here today. Its time the kid gloves came off, and the fear inducing scaremongering for political purposes was exposed for what it is .

      Compare to the quiet, reasoned contribution by Rebecca Kitteridge:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/20175123/insight-for-19-april-2015-how-real-terrorism-threats-in-nz

      One assumes she knows what she’s talking about!

      • Anne:

        I spoke on background to several media people yesterday and today and pretty much outlined for them what I have written above (and then some). I got asked by one outlet to appear today but declined because I do not wish to be associated with the venture (although I did tell the setup person my views on the matter). As for the Herald, they never got in touch with me for the story or follow ups even though I talk to its reporters on a regular basis. That makes me think that there was something going on behind the scenes in the clustering of the fright pieces.

        Robert: I am not sure if there is a much bigger agenda other than to fear-monger around the Anzac commemorations as a way of justifying joining the fight against IS/Daesh. The irony is that it is not necessary to fear-monger other than as an episodic reminder that evil lurks somewhere. The public have allowed the government to ever steadily increase the powers of the state security and surveillance apparatus and seem to not care that much about the ongoing revelations about NZ spying as part of the 5 Eyes network. From my perspective placing bogus articles like the ones cited here only contributes to public cynicism, not vigilance.

        • dukeofurl 24.3.1.1

          “Clustering of the fright pieces”- very well put.

          We can see a PMs office originated beatup in other words.

          When the people arrested are released without charge or their court case goes nowhere, its buried down amoung recipes for winter

    • McFlock 24.4

      Well, that pretty much covers everything.
      Well put 🙂

    • swordfish 24.5

      Cheers, Paul. Excellent comment (and from someone who, in stark contrast to Sullivan-Taylor, actually knows what the fuck they’re talking about).

    • Chooky 24.6

      +100…and who the hell is Sullivan- Taylor?

  25. BLiP 25

    Its been going on for a while, sorry to say . . .

    . . . “States are preserved when their destroyers are at a distance, and sometimes also because they are near, for fear of them makes the government keep in hand the state. Wherefore the ruler who has a care of the state should invent terrors, and bring distant dangers near, in order that the citizens may be on their guard, and, like sentinels in their night-watch, never relax their attention. He should endeavor too by help of the laws to control the contentions and quarrels of the notables, and to prevent those who have not hitherto taken part in them from being drawn in . . . ”
    ^^^ Aristotle in Politics

    HT: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/18/guest-blog-douglas-renwick-the-political-economy-of-thought-control/

    • greywarshark 25.1

      @ Blip
      That reminds me, I read a piece from Pericles, Greek statesman today in the
      Iveson book on the Lancaster bomber. Near Anzac Day this piece has special meaning. Especially when viewing the posturing of Key and the extravagant memorial to add to those we already have for WW1 and to that other Great War and many not so great, generally one every 20 year generation.

      All the people who fought in those wars were as strained and pained in various ways as in WW1. Why should one be picked out because there is significant date.. Terrorists are just annoying outsiders trying to get in on the grand drama, is how I think governments are thinking.

      Pericles
      In this land of ours a sane people has lived for generation to generation up till now. They, by their courage and their virtues, have handed it on to us, a country that is free. They certainly deserve our praise, for it was not without blood and toil that they handed it down to us of the present generation.
      We are capable of taking risks and of estimating them beforehand. The man who can most truly be accounted brave is he who knows best the meaning of what is sweet in life, and then goes out undeterred to meet what is to come in the fight, they thought it more honourable to suffer death than to save themselves. Remember, posterity can only be for the free, and that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.

      It seems that we are actually losing our freedom by being embroiled in a war where we have not estimated the risks properly. We are not behaving in a way that is bravely honourable, but attacking others in a war that will lead to deaths, injuries too, destruction and disruption. What is ‘sweet in life’ for those others will be lost and nothing gained by us, on the other side of the ledger except the taint of this war.

  26. esoteric pineapples 26

    This article from Glenn Greenwald might be pertinent

    The sham “terrorism expert” industry

    http://www.salon.com/2012/08/15/the_sham_terrorism_expert_industry/

  27. Kriss X 27

    I can not understand why New Zealand is so willing to play along with America’s global agenda and be part of its anti Muslim foreign policy.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-zealand-jewish-pm-wins-third-term/

  28. Richard@Down South 28

    Conditioning… make people expect to have extra ‘security’ and they will put up with it… random stops for ID etc? sure why not, as long as the terrorists don’t get us… random searches of cars and houses without warrants? sure, all in the name of security… slippery slope stuff

  29. Paul 29

    Just been listening to checkpoint and they are giving news prominence to all the fear-mongering. Why are they joining in the clear exercise in propaganda?

    I shall provide the famous quote by Hermann Goerring.

    “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on
    a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of
    it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people
    don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in
    Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the
    country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to
    drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist
    dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no
    voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
    That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked,
    and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the
    country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    Sound a little too close to your liking?

  30. Scottie 30

    These desperate victims deserve our help. We are contributing in a small way to try and improve their lives. The personal who go are willing, able and trained for their purpose. Were NZ ever in a position where we needed help against invasion or terrorism we would be very grateful for any assistance. Are we just so selfish that we feel fine turning away from all this death and misery and saying ” not our problem.”

    • McFlock 30.1

      who the fuck is saying that?

    • Colonial Rawshark 30.2

      These desperate victims deserve our help. We are contributing in a small way to try and improve their lives.

      Western intervention in Iraq created the ISIS leadership. Why do you think more western intervention in Iraq is the answer? From my point of view, far from helping Iraqi lives, we’re just as likely to go and fuck that country up further.

      Why would you support that?

      • greywarshark 30.2.1

        @Scottie
        Are we just so selfish that we feel fine turning away from all this death and misery and saying ” not our problem.”
        You, personally have done that every day of your educated life. And so have the rest of us. Every hour there is someone suffering something unfairly that we are not helping. And if you start thinking clearly that it is a default position that we are all in, then you might wonder what is the trigger that jerks us out of that position?

        Often it is self-advancement or protection of resources of a country, particularly for the people who have the most in that country. And they will intervene with force to help a country, but will want something in return. The USA didn’t jump in to help Britain fight Hitler from the first. The people were anti-war, and the business people were divided I think. They would have had to calculate whether they would lose money or not. The USA helped Britain first with treaties that British strategic outposts would be transferred to USA control in return for armaments. Then later there were lend-lease arrangements, and the virtual hire-purchase agreements were still being repaid until a decade or so ago.

        You want to wake up and not be so childish in your thinking. You can play video games and slaughter the enemy and be slaughtered, set buildings on fire, lose and get back on your feet and have a second chance to win. The injuries are graphic but its only a game and only censorship controls on violence and portrayals of torture, aggression etc. stops them being included as well. There is little that we can do to ease the problems of invasion or terrorism without having some vile and destructive thing happening. And there is only hope that the people might eventually be better off after an intervention by other parties.

        In war each side actually loses, something. There is little nobility about the events and the reasons for them. For men and women to hold onto their inner souls and nobility and even humanity, it can be a triumph of human greatness more than seen in the winning of any battle.

        In war humanity gets jettisoned. I’m just reading about Lancaster bombers, and how these machines were built with smaller escape hatches than other planes. The statistics of higher deaths from them were known, the cause was known, the British authorities and planners were requested to enlarge the hatches, but they did not. One man said sadly that he didn’t think that the Air authorities actually cared enough to organise the change.

    • Murray Rawshark 30.3

      The American political and military establishment are hardly desperate victims. Why are we helping them with their war of terror?

    • Maui 30.4

      Western sanctions put in place in 1990 killed 500,000 Iraqi kids. The 2003 US invasion/Iraq war killed 1 million Iraqis. America has turned the country into a basketcase. But if we go help the US just this once we’ll make Iraq all better, and “free”….

  31. vto 32

    So bombing the Rainbow Warrior was not an act of terrorism but a legitimate act of war according to some…

    Can somebody explain how that can be so?

    I wonder what John Key’s view on it would be …….. war? or terror? and how would he explain his choice of opinion on it?

    • Murray Rawshark 32.1

      Not all acts of war are legitimate, but that seems to be a bit subtle for some. In fact, very few are legitimate.

      • vto 32.1.1

        And you raise the obvious follow-on question there ……

        If an act of war is illegitimate then is it terror? Is it black or white? War or terror? What is the middle bit? Some sort of mixed up vacuum available for the warmongers and terrorists to fill as they wish and explain away and self-justify?

        btw, you still haven’t explained how the rainbow warrior event fulfils the definition of war. You have explained a definition of war but no more.

    • the pigman 32.2

      For the distinction between a “legitimate act of war” vs a war crime, here is some light reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_humanitarian_law

      Terrorism is kind of a broad and shifting concept. While I appreciate that some might like to think state actors don’t commit terrorism, I agree that the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior definitely falls into the broader definition of “terrorism” as the word is invoked these days. As does flying unarmed drones around in the Middle East dropping hellfire missiles on people based on spurious “intelligence”.

  32. millsy 33

    Probably worth noting that the biggest mass killings in NZ and Aus over the past 20-30 years have been the result of those with mental health issues having access to firearms.

    Martin Bryant, David Gray and Stephen Anderson come to mind.

  33. Paul 34

    Three unconnected stories about ISIS lead Radio New Zealand News at 6 a.m., one about a ‘terror plot’ in North West England.
    So RNZ’s editors also fall for the propaganda.
    Unbelievable.

    • vto 34.1

      Perhaps Paul it is a time to pull back on critical commentary…..

      what is the history of those who critically comment on a government’s warring? …….. or those sorts of things never happen in good ol’ NZ eh, yeah nah …. only happens in those foreign places …..

    • Colonial Viper 34.2

      they havent “fallen” for propaganda; they are propagandists and an outlet for propaganda.

  34. Total terrorist attacks (as defined in this framing) in sitting duck NZ are zero.

    Wasn’t the Rainbow Warrior a sitting duck?

  35. Brutus Iscariot 36

    Excellent article on Transport Blog about the ridiculousness of Dr Sullivan-Taylor:

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/04/21/terror-resilience-and-cities/

  36. Freedom 37

    NZ spies are using classical conditioning torture in Christchurch, invading peoples homes with their bugs and electronic transducers. They think it is routine but there is a domestic war going on.

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