Open mike 28/10/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 28th, 2022 - 96 comments
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96 comments on “Open mike 28/10/2022 ”

  1. Jenny are we there yet 1

    There are few secrets kept from the internet.

    From buying furniture and cars, to communicating with friends and relatives, much of our personal dealings are online these days. As Edward Snowden revealed mining this Metadata can tell you a lot about any persons of interest to your investigation.

    Uncovering war crimes. Unmasking war criminals. Bellingcat.

    In response to the military setbacks suffered by Russian forces in Kharkiv and Kherson and in particular the bombing of the bridge linking Crimea to Russia, Russian Federation operatives have been conducting revenge attacks against civilian infrastructure across Ukraine. These revenge attacks that have no military purpose or agency, other than terrorising and causing hardship to the civilian population.

    Revenge terror attacks against civilian infrastructure and civilians are a war crime.

    Bellingcat set out to identify the individuals orchestrating these missile and drone strikes against civilians.

    War criminals be warned. No one is untouchable

    The 10 October attacks marked Russia’s largest coordinated missile strikes since the beginning of the war….

    ….Bellingcat and its investigative partners The Insider and Der Spiegel were able to discover a hitherto secretive group of dozens of military engineers with an educational and professional background in missile programming. Phone metadata shows contacts between these individuals and their superiors spiked shortly before many of the high-precision Russian cruise missile strikes that have killed hundreds and deprived millions in Ukraine of access to electricity and heating….

    ….Most members identified by Bellingcat and partners are young men and women, including one husband-and-wife couple, many with IT and even computer-gaming backgrounds….

    ….Others are recipients of various military awards, including from Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

    Bellingcat approached each identified member of this clandestine GVC unit with an offer to confirm or deny our findings, and with a list of questions including who selects the targets and whether the civilian casualties are the result of computational error or intentional targeting of civilians….

    ….The identification of this clandestine group within the Ministry of Defence was made by parsing through open-source data of thousands of graduates of Russia’s leading military institutes that focus on missile engineering and programming,…

    • mikesh 1.1

      I'm pretty sure the Russians would readily agree to peace talks, if only the Ukrainians would agree.

      • alwyn 1.1.1

        Of course they would. The Russian's requirements are very simple. They only require a single sentence, of just three words, to be announced by the Ukraine Government.

        "We surrender unconditionally".

        The problem is that President of theirs. He refuses to say it. How unreasonable of him.

      • Jenny are we there yet 1.1.2


        "I'm pretty sure the Russians would readily agree to peace talks, if only the Ukrainians would agree." mikesh

        Putin had his chance to accept a negotiated peace, but turned it down.

        Putin should have taken Ukraine's generous peace offers when they made them back in March. Instead Russian Federation negotiators kept mindlessly repeating demands for Ukraine's surrender, and 'denazification' i.e. Putin's euphemism for regime change.

        During the March negotiations Ukraine made two concessions to the Russian Federation to try and achieve a negotiated peace.

        The Ukraine government in Kiev offered to hold a referendum to try and get a binding mandate from the Ukrainian people for Ukraine neutrality.

        Zelensky says Ukraine prepared to discuss neutrality in peace talks

        • Published 28 March 2022

        Ukraine's president has said his government is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia.

        In an interview with independent Russian journalists, Volodymyr Zelensky said any such deal would have to be put to a referendum in Ukraine.

        …..The news comes as the negotiations between the two countries are set to resume this week in Turkey….

        …The possibility of Ukrainian neutrality is not new. It's been discussed by Russian and Ukrainian officials for at least two weeks.

        But President Zelensky's reference is perhaps the most explicit so far.

        Clearly, there's no room for Nato membership in such a vision of Ukraine's future.

        Removing that aspiration from Ukraine's constitution (it was added in 2019) will need to be put to a referendum. With support for membership at an all-time high, it will be a bitter pill for many Ukrainians to swallow….

        For a referendum to proceed it is obvious that a ceasefire would firstly had to have been agreed to.
        The bloody minded Russian negotiators refused to even consider Ukraine's offer of a ceasefire during the negotiations. Instead pressing ahead with their invasion while attending 'peace talks'.

        In a recognition of the situation on the ground, Ukraine also offered the Russia Federation, a concession that Ukraine would not forcibly try to retake Ukrainian territory in the Donbas occupied by Russia before February 24, 2020.

        On occupied territories

        Zelensky told the journalists his goal was to “minimize the victim count, end the war as soon as possible and withdraw the Russian troops to ‘compromise’ territories… I realize that it is impossible to make Russia leave these territories. It would lead to World War Three,” he said.

        ….President Zelensky says Russian troops must retreat to positions held before Moscow's full-scale invasion began on 24 February.

        He says Ukraine will not try and retake the Donbas or Crimea by force,….

        Now that the Ukraine has seized the initiative, Russia wants to negotiate a ceasefire?

        The escalation of attacks on civilian infrastructure, indicate that the Russian Federation has no interest in making peace.

        Any ceasefire now would be used by Russia to properly train and equip the hundreds of thousands of conscripts to regroup for another attack.

        The best hope for a timely end to this conflict is for Ukraine to press their advantage, to push the Russians back across the border.

        • mikesh

          If they are not prepared to talk peace, they cannot complain about the damage that is Russia is effecting. Why should Russia stop the bombing? What’s in it for them?

          • Stuart Munro

            They should stop the bombing because the egregious murder of inoffensive civilians is, outside the strange world of Putin dupes, a Bad Thing.

            • mikesh

              If the rules favour your enemy, why abide by them.

              • Stuart Munro

                Civilians are not your enemy – unless you're from before the 19th century.

                • mikesh

                  No. I'm from the 0gth century. That was when civilians started dying in, for example, the battle of Britain, Dresden, Cologne, etc.

                  • joe90

                    That was when civilians started dying

                    Arse. The arrival of mechanised warfare certainly saw numbers rise but the Thirty Years War killed more than a third of Germany's population, a tenth of France's population died during the Napoleonic wars and who the fuck knows how many civilians died during Russia's imperialist expansion and assorted global uprisings, revolutions and conquests.

          • Jenny are we there yet

            If you are walking down the street, and you are attacked. You have no choice but to do your best to defend yourself

            If you stop defending yourself you could be badly hurt or even killed.

            The attacker can stop attacking you or you can overcome your defender.

            If no one comes to your aid, the only way the person being attacked can stop the attack is by overcoming their attacker.

            The onus is on the aggressor to stop the attack, not the defender.

            The same with war.

            Russia has shown by their actions and threats that they have no interest in peace.

            Only in regrouping to continue the their attack on Ukraine.

            • mikesh

              Russia has shown by their actions and threats that they have no interest in peace.

              So have the Ukrainians. So they need to get over themselves and stop complaining about the damage that Russia is doing. Do they not realise that they are involved in a war.

              • Stuart Munro

                So they need to get over themselves and stop complaining about the damage that Russia is doing.

                Oh – I thought the Putin dupe line was that it's not a war, only a special military operation? Liars need better memories.

                • mikesh

                  A non sequitur but, from your point of view, good propaganda.

                • mikesh

                  Putin has said recently that he will not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. But of course he's a liar, isn't he, so the Ukrainians had better watch out, hadn't they.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Well he lied about invading didn't he? So he cannot be trusted.

                    But it's more that he's a despotic genocide with a list of warcrimes that wouldn't fit in your tiny mind that's the issue. Putin is a very bad man – not in theory, but in practice. Nor are these incidents isolated, it is a sustained and frequent practice. Putin has more form than Harold Shipman – which you would know if you bothered to inform yourself properly instead of lying your ignorant arse off and whining about "propaganda".

                    • mikesh

                      You know full well that there will be nothing on the internet that either proves or disproves that Yeltsin was a Western stooge. If I ever meet the guy I will certainly not apologise for calling him that;

                    • mikesh

                      If he is a very bad man he's probably the best person to rule Russia; certainly an improvement on the drunken sot who preceded him, and probably better than Gorbachev, whom I respect, even if Putin doesn't think much of him. Good guys probably don't last long at the top in Russia.

                      I usually don't talk about Putin himself. I prefer to talk about Russia, and where I think her interests lie.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    there will be nothing on the internet that either proves or disproves that Yeltsin was a Western stooge.

                    Nevertheless, the search for anything even suggesting the kite you have flown would be a salutary lesson for you in not letting your reckons get ahead of available evidence – these vagrant prejudices you leave loitering without means of support do nothing to inform debate.

                    I prefer to talk about Russia, and where I think her interests lie.

                    Perhaps you should do that then – think about how Russia can recover from decades of kleptocracy, a humiliating defeat, and loss of standing with all the neighbouring countries. The present despot only obstructs the kind of change Russia has needed since Tsarist times. It was not coincidence that Russia had a revolution – it's really very poorly run.

              • Jenny are we there yet

                "Do they not realise that they are involved in a war." mikesh

                Ukrainians do realise that they are involved in a war,

                Russians do not realise they are involved in a war, because they have been lied to by their government that they are involved in a 'Special Military Operation'.

                Possibly, part of the reason why Russia is losing, the 'WAR'.

                • mikesh

                  Unlike you I don't bother playing around with semantics. There is a war going on in Ukraine, not a game of tiddly winks. Russia is trying to regain the territory given away by Western stooge, Boris Yeltsin.

                  • Stuart Munro


                    Yeltsin was a useless alcoholic with few or no redeeming features. But there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that he was a western stooge.

                    You really ought to come up with some substance to support your mindless ranting – or better yet, desist.

                    'There are two kinds of knowing, fact and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.' – Hippocrates

                    • mikesh

                      But there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that he was a western stooge.

                      He may not have been. He may just have conducted himself like one.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    He may not have been. He may just have conducted himself like one.

                    Spare us your vacuous speculation, and produce something to support your contention.

                  • Jenny are we there yet

                    "Russia is trying to regain the territory given away by Western stooge, Boris Yeltsin." mickesh

                    That's a weirdly distorted take on history there mikesh.

                    The breakaway of the former Soviet controlled territories occurred, when the whole population of the old Soviet Union, including the people in Russia itself, rose up against the Soviet empire, and tore it down.

                    After Gorbachev, Yeltsin became the fall guy for the unstoppable dissolution of the Soviet Union that had already begun under Gorbachev.

                    Boris Yeltsin had very little to with it, he just happened to be the one in the hotseat when it happened.

                    He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata

                    • mikesh

                      On 21 September 1993, in breach of the constitution, Yeltsin announced in a televised address his decision to disband the Supreme Soviet and Congress of People's Deputies by decree. In his address, Yeltsin declared his intent to rule by decree until the election of the new parliament and a referendum on a new constitution, triggering the constitutional crisis of October 1993. On the night after Yeltsin's televised address, the Supreme Soviet declared Yeltsin removed from the presidency for breaching the constitution, and Vice-President Alexander Rutskoy was sworn in as acting president.[113]

                      Between 21 and 24 September, Yeltsin was confronted by popular unrest. Demonstrators protested the terrible living conditions under Yeltsin. Since 1989, GDP had declined by half. Corruption was rampant, violent crime was skyrocketing, medical services were collapsing, food and fuel were increasingly scarce and life expectancy was falling for all but a tiny handful of the population; moreover, Yeltsin was increasingly getting the blame. By early-October, Yeltsin had secured the support of Russia's army and ministry of interior forces. In a massive show of force, Yeltsin called up tanks to shell the Russian White House (parliament building). The attack killed 187 people and wounded almost 500 others.[113]

                      As the Supreme Soviet was dissolved, elections to the newly established parliament, the State Duma, were held in December 1993. Candidates associated with Yeltsin's economic policies were overwhelmed by a huge anti-Yeltsin vote, the bulk of which was divided between the Communist Party and ultra-nationalists. However, the referendum held at the same time approved the new constitution, which significantly expanded the powers of the president, giving Yeltsin the right to appoint the members of the government, to dismiss the prime minister and, in some cases, to dissolve the Duma.[115]

                      That seems to be how the Soviet empire was dissolved.


                  • Jenny are we there yet

                    Meanwhile, outside in the real world. Where history is really made.


                  • Jenny are we there yet

                    What is the most important thing in the world?

                    Here's a clue for you mikesh; It wasn't Gorbachev, it wasn't Yeltsin, it wasn't the communist hardliners who tried to oppose the popular revolt against the Soviet union with tanks and military force.


                    • Jenny are we there yet

                      'The people united can never be defeated'

                      The same people who deny the agency of the people in the fall of the Soviet Union and try to blame secret agents of the West conspiring inside the Duma.

                      Are the same people who claim that the Arab Spring was a CIA plot.

                      That the Maidan popular revolt against Viktor Yanukovych was a Nazi coup.


                    • mikesh

                      The East German authorities could have prevented the fall of the wall had they wanted to. They chose not to. Certainly, there was was public pressure, protests, etc, and there was also an alternative route to West Germany, apparently, via Prague. I think "the people" were encouraged by the apparent softening of Soviet attitudes exemplified by Gorbachev's advocacy of glasnost and perestroika.

    • Francesca 1.2

      But why has Bellingcat never shown any interest in documenting the crimes of the Ukrainian govt against its own citizens from 2014 on.

      The OSCE has noted these crimes, but does not go so far as naming names.Why has Bellingcat turned a blind eye to this?

      Surely a truly investigative independent organisation would pursue all breaches of human rights

      Unless they are totally partisan and funded largely by western agencies strongly connected to govt.

      Unless Helen you truly believe that all of the wests declared enemies are irredeemably bad , inhumane,barbaric and backward, and that is why we are enemies, and the west represents all that is superior in the human world, and we can believe everything that our intelligence agencies tell us via their paid for journalists.

      Sorry,I'm not buying it

      • Crashcart 1.2.1

        Even if everything you said is true:

        1, Why is it bellingcats responsibility to investigate all war crimes? They have identified these ones. Perhaps they will identify the others.

        2. War crimes by one side don't justify them by the other. You can just agree that Russia bombing civilian homes and infrastructure is bad. Trying to pull whataboutisim doesn't make dead civilians any less dead.

        3. Russia has been aggresive to its neighbours for decades. It invaded Chechnya in 1999. They invaded Georgia in 2008. They invaded Ukraine in the Crimea in 2014. In all those cases the West did not intervene. They chose appeasement. Russia responded by continuing to invade and harm its neighbours. Now they threaten nuclear escalation if they don't get their way.

        Ukraine has real issues internally that were theirs to sort out. This current crisis is of Russia's making and it is disgusting the amount of people on the left who will support their imperialism and war crimes just to be able to try and show how much they hate the US and the west.

        • Francesca

          Consistency is what I'm about .What you call whataboutism(that old trope from the cold war)is what I refer to when calling out hypocrisy. The fact that Bellingcat for the vast majority of its reports amplifies western geopolitical aims does not instil confidence in their impartiality

          By the way Chechnya is not a neighbour, its a republic within the Russian federation, and furthermore, even the EU recognises that Sashkavilli initiated the short Georgia war by sending troops to kill the Russian peacekeepers in breakaway South Ossetia

          • SPC

            Why has Russia not merged North Ossetia and South Ossetia together so they can be an independent nation state?

            • Francesca

              South Osettia has already been integrated within the Russian economy.It is entirely dependent on Russian help and finance

              • SPC

                Taken from Georgia merely to be integrated into the borg to prevent autonomy for it, or a combined Ossetia?

                Russia crushes Chechnya independence and now the vassal tyrant of Chechnya fights to expand Russian borders into Ukraine. There is a pattern.

                • Crashcart

                  You don't understand. Poor little South Osettia would not be able to look after itself if it wasn't part of the Russian federation. It is really in their best interest to be ruled by Russia. They are reliant on the benevolent rule of Mr Putin.

                  Hold on, that sounds a lot like the justification the British and other empires used during colonisation. Must be a coincidence.

              • Jenny are we there yet

                ….integrated into the Russian economy?

                ….entirely dependent on Russian help and finance?

                Sounds like the definition of a colony.

          • Crashcart

            There is no requirement on Bellingcat to do Russia research on Ukrainian war crimes. Of course they will focus on those committed by Russia. That doesn't make them any less valid.

            If a union finds cases of bad employers but doesn't go through and investigate all of the bad employees, does that invalidate their research? Do those employers suddenly become good? If animal rights activists find cases of farmer abuse but don't report on good farmers does that make the abuse go away?

            Whataboutisim is weak arguments that try to ignore one sides failings by blaming the other side of also not being perfect. All it results in is everyone's failings being ignored.

            That doesn't mean context has to be ignored. I can say that Ukraine has done bad things and so has Russia. Apparently you can't. This is what makes you seem so blinded by your hatred of the west. You would rather ignore Russia's war crimes or act like they are acceptable.

            Give it a try. See if you can admit that firing missiles into civilian houses, as Russia have, is bad and should not happen.

            I can do whataboutisim too though. Funny how when Chechnya want independence its OK for Russia to bomb them to hell, support war lords, and make sure they are "a republic within the Russian federation". Yet when Ukraine tries to maintain Crimea or the Donbass it totally justifies Russian invasion. Weird that. Oh that's right, Nazis. Cause there are no Nazis in the Russian military. Hell we just had a story about NZ Neo-Nazis trying to join the NZDF. Hope Australia or someone doesn't try to de-nazify us. Terrible argument but on the level of what you have offered to justify Russian war crimes.

          • Stuart Munro

            The fact that Bellingcat for the vast majority of its reports amplifies western geopolitical aims does not instil confidence in their impartiality

            So that's the end run that allows you to consistently ignore their evidence – it doesn't gel with the world according to Putin. Not much does – it's not much of a standard. Russia is still fighting to suppress the revolutions of 1848, absent a monolithic creed like Stalinism, it can only hold together by heavy-handed use of surveillance and brute force.

      • tWiggle 1.2.2

        Bellingcat has carried out investigations on Ukraine government in the recent past, e.g.

        It's transparent about its funders, and investigates a wide range of topics world-wide, supported by citizen researchers.

        Of course, Ukraine is also running an international propaganda war, very deftly, I might add. But that seems fair enough, given its existential crisis, and the fact it did not start this conflict.

        Putin's forces shun international media and agencies like the Red Cross. What are they hiding? In comparison, Ukraine allows reasonable acess to these agencies. It simply cannot afford to alienate international support by committing anti-Russian atrocities. Plus, maybe also, Ukraine is taking a more ethical stance…

    • weston 1.3

      "Revenge attacks etc "

      I see you're using your usual selective ethics jawty everything russia does is bad and a war crime as of course ukraine would never commit a war crime nooooooo !!

      Worth pointing out that over half according to wiki of ukraine's railway system is electric so prob some advantage to Russia if it can limit the supply dont you think ???

  2. weka 3

    I'm on Mastodon if anyone else wants to connect there.

    Mastodon trending on twitter ahead of the Musk take over of twitter.

    • Sabine 3.1


      • weka 3.1.1

        why what?

        • Sabine

          Why the need for different plattforms, they are all very much the same. Are people really going to leave Twitter because Elon Musk is now the 'owner'. Would these same people refuse to drive a Tesla and rather get a Volkswagen cause Elon Musk? I find this strange.

          • weka

            it's not because Musk is the owner, it's because of what he says he is going to do to twitter. Can you see the difference?

            the thing that made me reactivate my mastodon account yesterday wasn't so much Musk as the appearance of Superfollow, where you can pay to access premium content of popular accounts. The account gets $, and I assume twitter does as well. If it takes off, it's going to change twitter a lot. It's already complicated enough with so much of MSM behind a paywall now.

            Mastodon is a bit different from twitter. It doesn't hurt to have two short form platforms. And it's good to have something up and running in case twitter does turn to shit.

            I was thinking about finding a cluster of women on mastodon. Don't know yet what M is doing with GC content.

            • Sabine

              To be fair i am currently blocked for suggesting that certain people who may not identify as 'women' still need to make sure they get appropriate healthcare for certain body parts in response to an article that lamented the loss of a transman to cervical cancer.

              How bad do you think it could get under Elon Musk? Seriously, what do you think is going to happen? The sky falling on our heads? I don't understand the need for 'safe spaces' and 'echo chambers'. Twitter is actually quite good for what it should do, some persons who work for Twitter may have a heavy hand as to what they consider 'hate speech' now already, so really what is to worry? Oh that he may give the orange menace their twitter account back? Or that people just can't report others whom they disagree with off the platform via malicious mass reporting? Or that there might now be different opinions?

              To weird.

              • weka

                do you mean your twitter account is locked?

              • weka

                there's lots of speculation about what Musk will do, but for me the pertinent point is that he's a fuckwit with a massive ego who thinks he knows best and who belongs to the death cult that is killing the planet despite some attempt at greenwashing.

                Will he be better or worse than Jack? I don't know, but my guess is his particular world view alongside his ego will make it worse. But then as I said, twitter already made things worse with teh Superfollow thing.

                Maybe things will get better for GC debate, I don't know (plenty of GC seem to think it will). We will see if that outweighs the downsides.

              • weka

                here ya go. He's a wanker who could have done good in the world and instead found a way to get liberals liking him making shitloads of money


                • Incognito

                  Apparently, Tesla has an option for an in-built tee to rest your balls on while you drive, hence the logo.

    • SPC 3.2

      It's a done deal.

      Elon Musk has completed his $44bn (£38.1bn) takeover of Twitter, according to an investor in the firm.

      Twitter's chief executive and finance boss have reportedly left with immediate effect … working at Twitter may become more onerous. The Tesla chief executive has previously tweeted that employees should anticipate work ethic expectations that are "extreme".

      In a tweet addressed to Twitter advertisers Mr Musk said that the platform could not become a "free-for-all hellscape" and must be "warm and welcoming for all".

      Many analysts argued the price Mr Musk is now paying for the company is too high given the decline in the values of many tech stocks and Twitter's struggle to attract users and grow.

      The entrepreneur has also posted that his plans for Twitter include "X, the app for everything".

      Some suggest this might be something along the lines of the hugely successful Chinese app WeChat, a kind of "super app" that incorporates different services including messaging, social media, payments and food orders.

  3. Poission 4

    Tech rout in markets,as growth stocks punished for being overvalued, on imaginary assets.

    3 trillion lost as FAANGS ,defanged.

    Pausing expansions,and constraining headcounts are first moves as economy moves from growth to value.

    Superfunds taking big hits with investments in companies with high PE'S, shrink,and collateral damage expected with zombie companies.

    • SPC 4.1

      It's hard to make payments on margin calls if the bonds have crashed in value, so share sales it is. And funds paying out money as people retire will be selling stocks high in value not delivering much dividend flow.

      • Poission 4.1.1

        Bonds have an inverse relationship with value as the price decreases with liquidity.If the asset is deleveraged it maintains still has a coupon value.

        There have been losses with large funds in the bond markets,mostly due to positions,but reversed some what now as both large banks and sovereign funds dump high PE'S for value.

        Mostly though it is companies returning to fair value,not expected value,as the world contracts into a normative state (post covid) and wealth destruction in the on demand bourgeois set,as costs move to reality.

  4. I made the point in one of my posts about Tuhoe and wider Treaty Settlements that Tuhoe & the results of these settlements are not the problem.

    I said that those of real concern and posing a real threat to the way of life of all NZers whether Maori or Pakeha are those belonging to the Sovereign Citizen movement.

    The SIS has commented on the Sov Cit movement here.

    Added to these there are the likes of VFF*, Counterspin and various other 'disgruntlers'.

    The concern at the Sov Cit threat is that this could be started by a legitimate act, say vehicle stop or similar, which may be a seen as bringing the power of the State upon the Sov Cit triggering an OTT response.

    • it will be interesting to see if those elected backed by VFF are able to get over their one issue interest and become those with useful alternate viewpoints or whether they will remain mired in anti public health or anti wide general measures to help the widest group. We needs lots of diverse thinking in our local governments and one issue wonders are not really very useful.
    • gsays 5.1

      "real concern and posing a real threat to the way of life of all NZers whether Maori or Pakeha are those belonging to the Sovereign Citizen movement."

      Care to give an example or two of the "real threat to the way of life of all NZers"?

      • Shanreagh 5.1.1

        I did link I thought to the SIS report. I did comment that a flare-up of anti authority from Sov Cits movement could come from a routine and non threatening, to most of us, action by the Police or other law enforcement, say a traffic stop.

        'Increasingly, it is also seen as a vehicle for retribution. Some element of this has existed for a while, Hattotuwa said: “This is not something that is parenthetical, peripheral or marginal; this is not something that is occasional. This is something that has increasingly defined the anti-vax community.”

        It includes fantasies about Nuremberg trials for people who support vaccination, and mass arrests of politicians and media figures, as advocated by the likes of Counterspin Media.

        Now, with the announcement that vaccination mandates would end, these groups have increasingly turned their attention to vengeance.

        “Now the whole conversation writ large is around holding the PM and the government accountable for genocide. And that's where you find this heightened discussion around, you know, self appointments of sheriffs and marshals – they now want to hold the individuals they think were responsible for the genocide accountable under sovereign citizen and common law frameworks,” Hattotuwa said.'

        From Wiki

        ‘Also, because some have engaged in armed confrontations with law enforcement,[2][14] the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies “sovereign citizen extremists” as domestic terrorists.[15] Terry Nichols, one of the perpetrators of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, subscribed to a variation of sovereign citizen ideology.[12] In surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015, representatives of U.S. law enforcement ranked the risk of terrorism from the sovereign citizen movement higher than the risk from any other group, including Islamic extremists, militias, racist skinheads, neo-Nazis and radical environmentalists.[16][17] The New South Wales Police Force in Australia has also identified sovereign citizens as a potential terrorist threat.[18]’

        I suggest that bringing in their odd rules and trying to enforce them on others who are unwilling to accept them will heighten the potential for violence. And just because we haven't heard from Counterspin, Arps, Sivell et al recently it does not mean they have all gone to paint their houses and grow potatoes.

        [Wiki text converted to text-only without all (too many) the hyperlinks that triggered Auto-Moderation – Incognito]

        • Incognito

          Mod note

        • gsays

          So, you've referenced a lot of speculation, concern and hand wringing.

          I am none the wiser as to "real threat to the way of life of all NZers"?

          • Shanreagh

            Well if I am 'handwringing' it is supported by NZ Govt agencies and other western governments. I am happy to be in such company as often over the years I have found myself not supporting the govt in power eg all through neo lib times, Vietnam War, Springbok tour etc.

            Nothing wrong with 'concern' I would have thought.

            'Speculation' is not part of this, see SIS report. My knowledge of these and other groups has been built on my observations of this group, and many of the dissent groups involved. In particular, having worked my whole life looking at land and constitutional issues their basic premise, relating to Admiralty law is tosh.

            Admiralty law, law of discovery and the sea precedes the actual signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

            The ToW, whether you like it or not, is the closest thing we have to a founding document framing the constitutional rights of all NZers. It is being relied on by Maori, through various statutes on the Treaty giving redress against the other partner.

            If some group convinces flammable others that this is incorrect then we will have people fomenting trouble for those, and Maori in particular, who believe/rely on the Treaty.

            I would have thought the possibility of uncalled for and wrongful death or injury when this is inflicted by a 'nutter' organisation with fringe ideas would be abhorrent.

            In NZ's very recent past we have had first-hand experience of the harm that be wreaked by a fringe person on a mission (Christchurch) would come high up on the list of things that are a threat. NZ agencies with their role of intelligence took their eyes off the ball with tragic results. I think it is significant that US agencies have classed this group as a terrorist organisation.

            The upsetting of the rule of law based on a Westminster style of government


            This article discusses and approves of the SIS keeping an eye on dissidents such as the Sov Cit movement saying their beliefs are

            'The pseudo-law arguments are a collection of motifs that sound like law and often involve legal terminology, but which lead to legally incorrect results. Most pseudo-law is designed to defeat or bypass state, police, court and institutional authority.' Quoted from a Canadian Court case.

            The article also says quoting Prof Spoonley

            'So what is to be done about this threat of overthrow by such extremists? Spoonley suggests police and the SIS need to be more public about the resources being deployed and the information being obtained about local activists.

            We need to be better informed, he says. He points out that police are enhancing existing systems to better record hate crimes which should be an important source of information and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will be announcing some of the details of the new centre of excellence that will provide evidence of local developments.

            The author of the aritcle, Ret Judge David Harvey, concludes 'One hopes these investigations will not be restricted to extremists on the Right but to other extremist groups that are threats to our society.

            It is doubtful, in my opinion, that sovereign citizens fulfil that criterion. They are a nuisance.'

            This is where I disagree. We seem to have looked on people such as the Chch gunman and others looking at 4chan and 8chan, Telegram as fringe people and not pondered what may happen should they or a group let some trigger go to their head.

            Nothing wrong with watchful waiting and pondering the threat to us all and what we can do, ourselves, to counter this. As we saw during Covid, groups with a beef at the Govt & our system of Govt, took the chance to attempt to destabilise. Much of this was done with the bombardment on many media channels by mis & disinformation.

            My view is that dissident groups got away for so long because of NZers' natural reticence in challenging, our propensity to give everyone a fair go (with tragic results in Christchurch). We don't need to couple those traits with another one…that of burying our heads in the sand because 'it won't/can't happen here'.

            Since Covid and the rise of these groups we do however have interesting, well read and informative people who are unafraid to counter disinformation publicly.

            Dr Sanjana Hattotuwa


            and Byron C Clark

            a NZer researcher and author


            Marc Dalder has also commented


  5. Anker 6

    oh the problem with our hospitals delivery is not a dangerously low number of health professionals who are burnt out. It’s that they need performance indicators (targets). And expectations. …..

    I don’t know how or why the health workforce puts up with this on going insult fron this Govt.

    but of course the reason that ED wait times have got worse is that the staff are a bunch of slackers sitting around the staff tea room chatting away(sarc)

    I hold Little and Rob Campbell with the deepest contempt

    • SPC 6.1


      1. end the requirement of health sector specialist workers in Enzed to pay back tertiary debt (and by 10 years of work here it becomes zero).
      2. negotiate with the unions an increase in pay to the OZ level over x number of years 9 step by step.
      • Anker 6.1.1

        100% Peter. Very good starts.

        The focus on Health NZ should be on retaining and recruiting health professionals. Now. Everything else can get bumped down the priority list

      • Belladonna 6.1.2

        I'd also be providing support bursaries for studying health (nurses, radiographers, allied health workers) – to encourage people to choose this career.

        And, removing the artificial 'caps' on numbers allowed to study.

        Doesn't solve the 'right now' problem, but makes a start on solving the 'in 10 years' problem.

        And, no, I don't have a problem with the 'unfairness' of people being paid to study in certain fields. As a country, we need medical workers a heck of a lot more than we need lawyers, social anthropologists or accountants.

        • SPC

          Sure tweaks to encourage study in certain areas of health, or to increase pay to Oz levels sooner for specialists in scarce areas.

          3. a national locum reserve to support provincial/rural GP's to have weekends off/holidays

    • gsays 6.2

      There have been performance indicators (nurse to patient ratios, wait times) agreed upon and enacted for the last few pay rounds. They get busy, authoritive titles, and not much changes.

      No prizes for guessing our local ED has been failing in them for the last decade and a half.

      Poverty underpins a lot of it. Few choices for too many, waiting till it is an emergency before seeking treatment. Especially mental, dental and drugs and alcohol.

      Poverty of courage and imagination in those that set direction and allocate the $ too.

    • Incognito 6.3

      For example, which one of the 101 recommendations in Reset and Restore Plan do you disagree with and why?

  6. Peter 7

    I accept that Michelle Boag is caught up as a victim in a case in Auckland where a convicted 'prominent businessman has had his name suppressed.

    The lines about her reputation being put in “serious jeopardy” and "reputational damage" bring a smile though. Michelle Boag? Reputation? Amongst whom?

    "In 2020, Boag resigned as the president of the National, leaving the political party after 47 years.

    Her resignation came after revelations she'd passed on private information to the National health spokesperson, after previously passing on the private information of Covid-19 cases.

    In 1996 during the Winebox Inquiry, the Commissioner, Sir Ronald Davison, ruled that Boag, who was the director of TVNZ and a Fay Richwhite PR executive, had deliberately deceived the Commission and was guilty of contempt."

    Should I contact Nikki Kaye, Michael Woodhouse or Cameron Slater to find if they've heard who the Auckland businessman is? I wouldn't bother checking with Hamish Walker.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1

      The lines about her reputation being put in “serious jeopardy” and "reputational damage" bring a smile though. Michelle Boag? Reputation?

      Some Gnat loyalists no doubt feel that Boag did the right thing – her only mistake was getting caught. Having covered herself in dirt, she had to take one for the strong team.

      National MP Hamish Walker's electorate voters shocked with Covid leaker revelation [8 July 2020]

      "Is it an honest mistake? Deliberate? I don't know, they'll have to look back down the chain of where it comes from. Perhaps Michelle Boag shouldn't have passed on information that was supposed to be kept to her … but young Hamish, if he's an honest mistake, then he probably shouldn't be prosecuted for it," Kevin said.

      He didn't agree with Walker's decision not to contest his seat in the upcoming election.

      "That would be a big shame for such a young person that would have, I would say, a pretty good future in politics."

    • The identity of the 'prominent businessman' is one of the worst-kept secrets in Auckland (no, I'm not going to say it here, as TS would then be liable for breach of court suppression orders).

      It is outrageous that minor figures in this case have been publicly identified while he continues to fight to protect his identity.

      I think that, once someone is convicted – unless innocent victims in the case (e.g. family sexual abuse) request name suppression – the criminal should be automatically identified. The shame you and your family may feel, and any consequential social or financial penalties, are part of the sentence for your criminal offending.

      And, victims, witnesses, or associated figures, who are discussed in the trial, should have automatic suppression of names and any identifying details (unless they choose to waive suppression).

      [People who are not convicted, should also have automatic suppression of their names, unless they choose to waive the right]

      I think our law and our media – have the 'rights' the wrong way around. Victims should not have to appeal to the courts for their right to privacy. The media should have to appeal, and demonstrate a legitimate public interest, before the appeal is granted.

      While I agree that Boag has performed many an own-goal in terms of her media profile and/or reputation (her involvement with the release of the covid information, was then, and remains, indefensible); in this case, she actually had nothing to do with the businessman at all – and her name and identity were used blatantly without her knowledge, let alone permission.

      Actually, we don't need to know.

      And the media don't need to report now, and didn't need to report during the trial about a "well-known political figure" – when it was immediately evident (and admitted by one of the defendants) that he'd lied about her involvement. It was pure media-story-beat-up for click-bait headlines.

      Hating Boag for what she's done, is one thing. Smearing her because someone lied about her involvement, (in what is a very nasty sexual assault and intimidation case), is quite another.

    • Nic the NZer 7.4

      Not sure if this is what the court meant. True, its a surprise somebody would lie about her involvement. Boags reputation appears intact, we know she did do the dodgy things she resigned positions over.

  7. SPC 8

    Sunday 30 October, Brazil.

    If Bolsonaro wins we all lose – the rain forests depletion needs to end, its now at the tipping point towards permanent decline.

    The campaign has descended into a holy war as the candidates vie for millions of religious votes. Lula has traditionally had the support of Catholics, while Bolsonaro is allied to the ever-growing evangelical church. Their support could make – or break – a candidate.

    Pastor Valdinei Ferreira says Brazil has imported 'conspirituality' from the US

    It's become so extreme that even the Pope spoke out this week, asking Brazil's patron saint to free Brazilians from hate, intolerance and violence ahead of the elections.

    Pastor Valdinei Ferreira, from Sao Paulo's Evangelical Cathedral, rejects this politicisation of religion.

    "Faith has been seized upon as a political identity and people end up validating the Christian faith of someone based on the political choices they make," he says. "In my opinion, Bolsonaro has caused that – if you don't vote for him, you're written off as a person who's gone against God. I vote for Lula because he just wants to be president – Bolsonaro is a candidate to be God."

    Pastor Valdinei uses a special term for what he sees happening in Brazil – conspirituality.

    "It's something that came from the US and is happening here – this fusion of spirituality and conspiracy theories," he explains. "You mobilise people because you mess with the religious sentiment of good and evil – but it's guided by a conspiracy theory."

    • SPC 8.1

      If the GOP in its current form win Congress on November 1, there will be consequences for the future of democracy, not just in the USA (and Americans are now discussing a future where the nation divides permanently) but in the wider world (as to credibility and unity on foreign policy).

  8. Forget the politics – this was the number one water-cooler discussion at work today (I work with lots of mums and/or grandmas with kids).

    “Tip Top has discontinued two of its most popular flavours, the 2-litre tubs of Cookies and Cream and Goody Goody Gumdrops, causing outrage among Kiwis online.”

    Opinion was fairly equally divided between family loyalty to the 2 flavours – but the outrage was real!

    [I declare absolute neutrality. I don't eat much icecream at all, and prefer lemon if/when I do indulge. However, the teen is a C&C fan.]

  9. newsense 10

    This is a gift for tomorrow.

    10 bs anti rail arguments on The Spinoff

    High speed battery electric rail capable of running on NZ gauge and best of all it’s a kiwi design. Here it is, technological innovation that can help reduce our climate change bill.

    The responsibility avoiding right don’t have to be the only voices in the conversation!

    Beginning to think I’m a member of the Hayden Donnell left…

    This Wayne Brown is just another bs austerity Tory, with a touch of Trump blitzkrieg- announce a crisis and then cut cut cut. Skirt the council and try to govern by pronouncement. Nothing new or innovative.

    But the Trussites aren’t gone, her ideology has just gone looking for a better sales team to sneak through class warfare and wealth transfer. They just don’t want the electorate to see them profiteering so obviously. It’s no good to push it through if it sees a 30 point poll gap and criticism from the markets…

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