Paranoia, Bullshit and Ordinary Lives.

Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, September 14th, 2018 - 125 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, human rights, International, Media, Politics, Propaganda, Russia, uk politics - Tags: , ,

The UK government just couldn’t help itself, could it? Faced with the possibility of scoring some points against Russia, well….grab that there opportunity with both hands and to hell with everything else, right?

I said a while back, and I’ll reiterate. The likely courier of the “Salisbury toxin” is Julia Skripal. Everything about her movements fit. And of course, that’s just speculation on my part. As to why she was carrying a toxin, or who she was carrying it for, or who might have been the intended target? I’ll pass.

Now, to cut the UK government some slack, she was comatose when they picked her up from a park bench, and so it might have seemed reasonable, to them anyway, to immediately jump to conclusions about some dastardly Russian government plot to knock off an ex-British spy they’d previously released from jail as part of some spy swap.

Having done that, and having unleashed a pile of shit off the back of their conviction, they effectively dug a hole for themselves.

I’m not going to run through how the UK government and mainstream media heaped speculation on top of baseless assertion on top of speculation as though that might finally amount to proof of some dastardly Russian stuff. If you’re happy to buy into the UK government’s line and run with it, then fine. I don’t care.

What I care about is if, as seems to be the case, two ordinary people have been thrown under some political juggernaut by a UK government trying to dig itself out of a hole it’s dug for itself. After six months or so, and with nothing to show for all the investigating we were told they were engaged in, they had to come up with something that might draw a line under things. The naming of the two Russians,  Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov was meant to be that line. Of course, being GRU officers, they’d never be heard from again – they’d simply be spirited away into the vast “nowhereness” of Russia as it were.

Except it seems that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are real people. And sure, The Guardian is waving it’s arms (no doubt other media is too) that when they were interviewed by RT, the two men who look like the two men in CCTV stills released by UK authorities, didn’t produce the false passports that would verify they really are who they say they are, although in Teresa May’s world, everyone knows they’re not who they say they are, and that their passports would prove that point beyond all doubt. Or something.

Here’s a link to the RT interview (video). And here’s a link to the full transcript of the RT interview.

Watch and/or read and come to your own conclusions.

And no – before the usual pom pom brigade flounce in with their usual tired routine, I’m not interested in defending some notion of the Russian government as a great and wonderful institution or set of institutions. In fact, I’ve as much interest in doing that as I have of defending the UK (or US, NZ or wherever else) governments as great and wonderful institutions – ie, none. Two ordinary citizens have had their lives fucked over by the latest in a long line of shenanigans between  despicable and paranoid state actors. I care for none of them.

And whereas I have precisely zero power to hold the Russian Federation and its bullshit to account, I can at least kick back against some of the bullshit we’re subjected to via media by dint of the New Zealand government’s cultural and historical  ties to other western governments. Neither you nor I can directly influence the policies of western governments beyond New Zealand’s shores. But we could stop mindlessly buying into their nonsense, and make it that bit more difficult for them to peddle bullshit.

We deserve better of ourselves on that front.

And so do Alexander Petrov, Ruslan Boshirov and the millions of anonymous and ordinary people who,  just like us, are impacted when governments and media are given a free uncritical pass to say as they will and to do as they like.

125 comments on “Paranoia, Bullshit and Ordinary Lives.”

  1. Another Russian apologist topic 🙄

    Change the record, Irish, Ffs.

    • Ha – have you moved yet?

    • RedLogix 1.2

      Apologising exactly for what? Bill explicitly isn’t defending the RU; he made that very clear.

      Nah … it’s crazy old Cold War tropes that he’s challenging.

      • The Al1en 1.2.1

        Nope, by design, Bill’s a Ruskie stooge. Check his post history.

        • RedLogix

          And unlike most people here I’ve lived and worked for a period in Russia. Yes it’s very different as indeed all countries are; but it cured me of leaping reflexively to the idea that Russians are all demons.

          Russia is a tough country. It has a tough history and Putin is by modern liberal standards no angel. Neither Bill nor I would quibble that. At worst it’s political system is far too entangled with a thuggish kleptocracy; yet at his best Putin remains a remarkably accessible leader, given to long intelligent interviews and speeches and still hugely popular. Under his leadership the nation has clawed back from the brink of economic implosion in the 90’s.

          While at the same time any honest appraisal of the Western nations reveals our own list of strengths and weaknesses. While we do some things well, there is also a terrible legacy of military, political and economic disasters to consider. And in terms of leadership, Putin is makes the current crop of Western leaders look like the fools they are.

          The Cold War is over.

        • Bill

          Nope, by design, Bill’s a Ruskie stooge. Check his post history.

          -sigh –

          Go ahead. Knock your self out finding so much as a comment, never mind a post, where I defend or promote the Russian Federation at an ideological level.

        • Morrissey

          Idiot. You haven’t read Bill’s history any more than you’ve read any Russian or indeed any history at all.

          Get lost.

    • adam 1.3

      It’s the lies that hurt…

  2. Two ordinary people – really?

    Most that I’ve discussed this with think it’s pretty standard stuff. Spy stuff. The players all have a narrative and some believe whatever? But two innocent tourists? – I doubt many believe that.

    • Siobhan 2.1

      (This is a repeat of my comment on open mike..which I should have put here..sorry)

      To start with it all sounded bizarrely ridiculous, till I actually read their story.
      From what I can see, and reading between the lines, they run a dodgy Health and Fitness Company and were in the UK to investigate some new sources of dodgy supplements/steroids..hence their obvious ‘fitness’. A situation complicated by their cosy sleeping arrangements…also this could explain the two visits to Salisbury, maybe a contact didn’t show or whatever happens in the murky world of ‘supplement’ buying and selling

      People have dodgy passports, lie and tell crappy fake tourist stories for all sorts of reasons other than being Russian this point I couldn’t in all conscience convict them in a court of law if I was on the jury, let alone the court of public opinion.

      • marty mars 2.1.1

        I spose. They went past his house though didn’t they?

        • Francesca

          Some 500 or more metres away that we know of
          Seems no neighbours in the cul de sac saw any shenanigans at the very exposed door of the Skripals in
          broad daylight,on a Sunday so most people at home

          • Francesca

            Whatever dodgy stuff these guys were up to they are way too unpolished to be GRU agents entrusted with a hugely dangerous job with such high political stakes
            And we certainly wouldn’t be seeing them on TV

            • KJT

              Secret agencies have a long history of incompetence.

              Secrecy allows a massive amount of unscrutinized ineptitude.

              As one whistle blower said, “the main reason why secrecy is invoked is too cover up Government, or secret service, incompetence or malfeasance” .

              We had our own example, with the bunch of French clowns, who sunk the rainbow Warrior.

              • Francesca

                By that standard the agents would never have been paraded on TV
                They would have disappeared

                • McFlock

                  Only when their liability outweighs their usefulness.

                  No trial = no proof = no liability. Hell, they might even get a chat show out of it, or a sinecure as an MP. If they’re the guys in the picture and the guys in the picture did it.

        • Bill

          If you’d watched the video, or read the transcript, you’d know the answer to that question.

          The fact you’re asking, suggests you just saw a headline and stuck your hand down your pants all excited like.

          • marty mars

            Thanks bill – nice to know what’s on your mind.

            Please note the question mark I used and also that asking a question without knowing the answer is for idiots. The fact you didn’t notice that tells me youre potentially trying to pick a fight so I’ll not comment again.

      • Bill 2.1.2

        I don’t see why it has to be “a dodgy” supplements business (though it could be).

        And Petrov (on the left in the interview), although incredibly defensive at even oblique suggestions he may be gay (he complains that photos of the room they were meant have stayed in shows only a single bed and goes on to “defend” booking twin shares), strikes me as a “stress monkey” way out of his comfort zone. Understandably so, but hardly GRU material.

        And Salisbury is an entirely legitimate (and probably very popular) destination for a day trip from London.

        Dodgy passports? Hang on. The names are the same as those released by UK authorities, right? (Christ! I had to check 🙂 ) So, no reason to introduce or explain away anything about dodgy passports. According to UK authorities (and the two men themselves) they’ve been on numerous trips to Europe for business and pleasure.

        • Dukeofurl

          Notice how the journalist in the link you have is a Moscow correspondent for Guardian but doesnt do any independent reporting from Russia. None at all Its all just a rewrite of the Conservatives/Met/SIS press releases from London.

          The methods real assasins operate with accomplices safe houses etc was shown when Mossad killed the wrong person in Lillehammer in 1973. That was supposed to definite proof of the string of Israeli killings in Europe. Political response is different when Israel is involved.

          • McFlock

            No chance things have changed a bit in 45 years, especially given that it was such a clusterfuck and exposed so many unrelated resources?

          • Bill

            Actually I had missed that it was Luke “swivel eyed” Harding 🙂

            He’s got a book out, right? And a very embarrassing interview (for him) with Aaron Mate somewhere on the RealNews. It’s an aside, but through the link 🙂

        • Gabby

          I wonder what business they’re in billy. Import-export? Pharmaceuticals? Security?

        • KJT

          As being queer is still a legal issue in Russia, that could be a valid reason for the “dodginess”?

          • Bill

            As I commented on Open Mike this morning before this post went up – I’ve been around somewhat overwhelmed and stressed people who’ve had to go before the media -who’s general pattern of engagement and mannerisms would fit that guy like a glove. He’s genuine.

    • Booker 2.2

      Yeah those guys in the interview are not telling the truth, that should be obvious to anyone. Look, when the second couple were poisoned, I started thinking it must be a lone wolf who had access gone crazy letting this stuff out – probably from nearby Porton Down. Now, I have no idea. I don’t believe we’re getting all the facts out of the UK government, and even sites like the Guardian highlight that the police haven’t released any more video ( – even though the UK littered in CCTV. But the release of this interview now makes Russia look more suspicious – keeping quiet would have worked better than put out a weird interview with the suspects like this.

      • Dukeofurl 2.2.1

        First thing to remember is that you wont get ALL the information from the UK media.
        The main media outlets still operate under the D notice system ( now called a new name) which acts as censorship on what the Government doesnt want released.

        But that doesnt stop the official government line being the only story being told. people taking an interest will have noticed the complete lack of independent reporting of the main details by the major media other than official sources.

  3. McFlock 3

    Personally, I don’t know if these two guys are involved. “Visiting the cathedral” is pretty thin, but whatevs. I’m pretty sure they will never be in a situation where their guilt or innocence is tested.

    As for your Yulia reckons, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree entirely. But then we take very different approaches to committing illegal acts, it seems.

  4. SPC 4

    As to stuff in the media that is dubious – this “The likely courier of the “Salisbury toxin” is Julia Skripal. Everything about her movements fit. And of course, that’s just speculation on my part. As to why she was carrying a toxin, or who she was carrying it for, or who might have been the intended target? I’ll pass.” is right up there.

  5. mauī 5

    RT kind of dropped the two guys in it by releasing a short snippet video of the interview first, complete with bad voiceovers. That made them look dodgy as f…. But the full half hour long interview is more convincing. The guys still look a bit dodgy. Skirting around their occupations and discussing why they get a single or a double room when they stay at places lol. But if they’re lying that was an impressive performance to hold up under 30 mins of Kim Hill like interrogation and on camera.

  6. veutoviper 6

    OK, so they were in the UK to visit Stonehenge according to some here – in early March. (Although it now seems that they were interested in the Cathedral and its spire and clock – perhaps for the reasons below.)

    But lets look at visiting Stonehenge. March is not a time of year with any real significance to Stonehenge in terms of things like the Winter and Summer solstices etc.

    March is also not a great time to visit weather wise, and the number of tours and buses from Salisbury to Stonehenge (9 miles) are also limited.

    Just for the hell of it, I googled information re getting to Salisbury and Stonehenge from London. (I went to Stonehenge several times during my seven years living in London but that was in the swinging ’70s!)

    From what I have seen it is actually quicker and cheaper to take a bus tour from London to and from Stonehenge than try to do it independently. This includes day trips and half day trips although the latter are limited in March to afternoon half day tours only.

    If you want to do the trip independently, then Stonehenge Tour buses run from the Salisbury Railway Station to and from Stonehenge – AND there are no public bus services to get the nine miles from Salisbury to Stonehenge and back.

    And here is another interesting point. Entry to Stonehenge is not free (it was in my day!) – AND you must book in advance. From the link below:

    Note: you cannot reserve tickets on-line on the day of your visit, you must reserve before midnight latest on the day before. Only a very small number of tickets are held back each day for walk-up visitors.

    So for two guys who obviously have travelled outside Russia before – eg to Switzerland a number of times and to other European destinations – and had only two days in the UK on this trip with only limited time to visit Salisbury (and Stonehenge?) from London, they don’t seem to have done much planning for their trip to Stonehenge.

    Surely on their first day in Salisbury, if they really had wanted to visit Stonehenge and had not made advance arrangements, they would have found out about the buses, the need to book in advance etc and made such arrangements before they went to Salisbury in teh first place and/or back to Salisbury the very next day.

    OK – so that put housework off for another hour … What’s my next diversion?

    • Bill 6.1

      Petrov – We travelled there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But it didn’t work out because of the slush.

      Bus tours take in all three of those locations in one fell swoop and can be booked on-line for £24 (valid for 48 hours and with a very limited number of tickets being with-held for casual visitors).

      But like you say, maybe not so popular to stand around on exposed hillsides in early March, so quite reasonable to “take a punt” on grabbing a ticket on the day – or cop out and just do the Cathedral.

      And from the interview, it would seem that Petrov and Boshirov took photographs. Who knows? They may be in them, and they might pass them to some Russian media outlet.

      I guess they could be in CCTV footage from around the Cathedral – if such footage still exists after this amount of time has passed.

      And I see that some outlets (eg – The Independent) are putting a lot of store in the fact they entered Britain on valid business visas but didn’t conduct business 🙂

    • Bill 6.2

      Not sure how to cut and paste individual tweets, so here’s the text with a link to the thread.

      Old Sarum
      Mar 3
      ‏Old Sarum remains closed today, Saturday 3 March due to continuing adverse conditions. Let’s hope for a big thaw this weekend.

      ‏Mar 3
      WEATHER UPDATE: Stonehenge will remain closed today. We’re very sorry for any inconvenience. Any queries please contact customer services.

      Old Sarum
      Mar 4
      Old Sarum is still closed today as we clear the last drifts from the Inner Bailey.

      So they may well have booked on line, traveled up and everything was canceled. Tickets are valid for 48 hours anyway, so they’ve gone back the next day and some of what they wanted to see was still closed, so (as before) settled for just doing the Cathedral.

      Nothing odd or preposterous in any of it. And if you want an idea of what the weather was like over those few days, then click following link for photos.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    It’s always the POMs, according to RT.

    Even the two men, asked who they blamed, blamed the POMs, not the poisoners. Poison is normal to them. So no reason they couldn’t poison the Skripals and then visit the cathedral. What else is there to do in Salisbury on a wet day after all.

    Travel to another country to spend thirty minutes looking at a cathedral?

    They’re paraphrasing Michael Palin’s euphemism “To my surprise we discovered a mutual interest in church architecture” without evidently recognizing it.

    • Bill 7.1

      Sorry, what?

      The PM of the UK states quite categorically that two guys they have on CCTV are Russian agents and that they would want to charge them if Russia and the UK had an extradition arrangement.

      And it’s somehow crap that the two guys blame the UK government for fucking up their lives!?

      You think they should blame ….who? Who else pointed the finger at them? Who else has made it impossible for them to travel in Europe?

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        Ok – So at great trouble and expense, the UK have finally tracked down a couple of the many Russian murderers who have operated on their soil over the last few decades.

        Unapologetic is an understatement – no evidence of contrition or even consciousness of the fact that a crime has been committed, ordinary people slain (yet again) in the service of a murderous Russian exceptionalism.

        This a matter for the UK and Russia to work out Bill – you’ve no evidence beyond the usual bad faith reportage of RT and the gibbering inanity of the likes of Moonofalhambra or the cat guy.

        Are there no progressive issues requiring our attention in this hemisphere, after nine years of epic misgovernance? Or is Putin’s position so tender that he requires your support every day of the year?

        In the absence of further evidence the matter is best left to those involved.

        • Morrissey

          Bill’s not supporting Putin. He’s questioning the motivation, and the reliability, of that rogue state Great Britain.

          • Stuart Munro

            Yes he is – without a shred of evidence.

            But he appears to accept the accused poisoner’s story at face value – even promotes it – also without a shred of evidence.

            That’s pretty damned partisan.

            As for “Great Rogue State” many can lay that accusation against England. But not the genocidal murderers of the Chechens, not the invaders of Georgia and of the Ukraine. Those bastards, the Russians – are even worse.

            • Morrissey

              Those bastards, the Russians – are even worse.

              No they’re not. Russia’s crimes—in particular this century— are minimal compared to Britain’s. Of course, if you want to ignore Britain’s key involvement in the destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and its funding and diplomatic support of ISIS, Saudi Arabia and Israel, then there is no problem.

              The real world, though, is more problematic.

            • Bill

              But he appears to accept the accused poisoner’s story at face value – even promotes it – also without a shred of evidence.

              Do you really want to run through the interview and stack it against known facts? Maybe discern if there are any actual holes in their account?

              No. Of course not. As far as ideologues are concerned, I don’t go for what’s in the book, and that makes me and my opinions and thoughts, bad. End.

              I mean ffs, all this shite that would have people prove they didn’t do something, when they give a perfectly reasonable account of what they did do. What’s that about? How’s that work?

              It’s down to accusers to prove guilt, or at least establish a reasonable case for guilt. Saying that two guys, who went to a tourist destination, and who’s story pans out against known facts nevertheless did some weird door handle poisoning thing, needs to be backed up by much more than bald assertion and paranoid innuendo based on the sole fact that they’re Russian.

              • Stuart Munro

                “needs to be backed up by much more than bald assertion and paranoid innuendo based on the sole fact that they’re Russian.”


                And it is backed up, by an intensive investigation carried out by hundreds of trained investigators, chemists, and anti-terrorist specialists.

                But this is not enough for you. You are determined to insist, before that evidence is presented to a court, that these suspects are innocent tourists.

                And then you wonder why people speculate at what might impel you to such anomalous behavior.

                Are you having Putin’s baby, Bill? Because you have never produced any substantive cause for your position beyond a sustained sneer at anyone daring to question your essentially Lavrovian position.

                • Bill

                  Fucking wow!

                  …it is backed up, by an intensive investigation carried out by,,,

                  No. An investigation isn’t “back up”. Only evidence that supports conclusions produced or reached by an investigation constitutes “back up”.

                  And on that front, after six months and whatever amount of money and number of personnel thrown at the thing, there are some CCTV stills and two names of two Russian men who were in Salisbury on March the 3rd and 4th.

                  From that, UK authorities have concluded that thems must be the guys. But as far as evidence goes…..nothing. Assertion, speculation and innuendo don’t count as evidence, not even if you stack one on the other all the way to the sky.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Riiight – the Skripals were poisoned immaculately no doubt – cos no Russian agent would ever contemplate doing such a thing, even under a government led by a cold war espiocrat.

                    There’s plenty of evidence. If your cathedral loving pair wish to maintain their innocence they need only correspond or cooperate with UK authorities, or contest the matter through the English courts – an affordance English spies poisoning Russians on their soil would not be offered.

                    • Bill

                      This is just stupid talk Stuart. Whatever happened doesn’t come down to a) Russian agents did it or, b) there is no possible explanation.

                      And again, you say there is “plenty of evidence”, but there’s not. There’s plenty of noise by way of speculation and assertion. But there’s no evidence.

                    • Stuart Munro


                      “Whatever happened doesn’t come down to a) Russian agents did it or, b) there is no possible explanation.”

                      Yes, you’ve been at pains to walk us through what you apparently conceive to be every other “possible explanation”, none of which are particularly persuasive.

                      Nor do you have anything to offer beyond a rather refined form of speculation – anything , anything whatsoever, that exonerates Russia.

                      Frankly you would do better to await the release of more evidence. This insistence that Russia cannot possibly be involved when they have so very much form for doing exactly the same kind of thing, they have the only plausible motive, and they are the only significant source of the material carries willful suspension of disbelief a little too far.

                    • Bill

                      An ex-British spy moving in circles that likely include (how to say?) a fair number of unsavory and/or dodgy and/or powerful individuals and their associates would, I think, offer up a veritable cornucopia of potential suspects and motives.

                      And that’s just going on the basis that Skripal was the intended target, which as you’ll be aware, isn’t something I’m taking as a read.

                      And these two guys seem to have done what many people from around Europe do. They flew to a foreign city for a few days intending to take in some local sights. They’re story stacks up – is internally coherent. So, as I said elsewhere, until such times as evidence is produced to say otherwise, these guys were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Burn the witch!) 🙂

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “They flew to a foreign city for a few days intending to take in some local sights.”

                      How very informed you claim to be with regard to their intentions, one of the hardest things to determine.

                      These are persons of interest who British authorities have stated are members of GRU.

                      They don’t fit the profile of average travelers – the average Russian earns in the order of $1000 US a month, and on such an income a casual trip to Salisbury from London at roughly $100 both ways is no negligible thing, much less two such trips.

                      In the circumstances – the poisoning of a former spy and an apparently innocent bystander – bears some further investigation, and traces of this uncommon poison in their accommodation are sufficient to establish a prima facie case. They are linked to the murder and to the attempted murder. No witch burning required.

                      But by all means persist in your denials – it worked a treat for Ahmadinejad.

        • Bill

          Thing is, when people can’t engage with the substance of an opinion or analysis, but instead yell about supposed sources* and how they’re gibberish or what not, and/or attack the imagined motivation of the writer (in this case, me) then it’s usually a pretty good indication that the substance of what’s being proposed stacks up, and is being resisted for purely ideological reasons.

          Which is ironic given that one of the main charges usually made is about some unacceptable level of ideological support being offered to x,y or z 😉

          *None of those mentioned were even read in relation to this post. RT was linked solely because RT is the site carrying the interview and transcript

          • Stuart Munro

            The thing is, when an author persists in speculating beyond the limits of the evidence he chooses to present, he erodes his credibility. If you indulged in such speculation a little more even handedly – sometimes condemning or even merely questioning the frequent murderous excesses of Russia, you might be viewed as something other than their ideological captive.

            I cannot recall your ever having done so.

            • Bill

              So, see if you can wrap your head around this (it’s pretty simple). From the post –

              …before the usual pom pom brigade flounce in with their usual tired routine, I’m not interested in defending some notion of the Russian government as a great and wonderful institution or set of institutions […] whereas I have precisely zero power to hold the Russian Federation and its bullshit to account, I can at least kick back against some of the bullshit we’re subjected to via media…

              You get it? The propaganda I’m subjected to western propaganda, not Russian propaganda. Think of it like the weather. I react to the weather I’m subjected to, not some fucking storm or sunny spell in Alaska or wherever.

              • In Vino

                I am with Bill on this one. Russia has always been a country of murderous excesses, strong only when ruled with a rod of iron. We all know that, unless we have little understanding of history.
                So when Bill calls our own mendacious propaganda into question, I think he is quite right to do so.
                You have to be pretty one-eyed to attack Bill for being a Russia-lover simply because you like to think that the Russians are always worse than us.
                This is like 1984 or Brave New World… It seems that we must constantly generate big bullshit stories about an evil, external enemy.
                In 2001, Russia had collapsed, and terrorism became that external enemy.
                No longer scary enough now, so the evil Russians are being resurrected?
                Regardless of how bad the Russians may be, I do not like our own mendacious media trying to manipulate us.

                • Stuart Munro

                  ” you like to think that the Russians are always worse than us”

                  I’m more concerned with what they do:
                  Routine killing of critical journalists
                  Routine poisoning of regime enemies or critics
                  Routine murder of opposition politicians
                  Routine demonization of uncle tom cobbly and all who criticizes them or any of the fatuous lies they promulgate faster than we can debunk them.

                  Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty to critique the UK for – but they don’t go as far. And I’m minded to believe that the difference is important – goes to the possibility of achieving any semblance of real democracy, like the one that may see Corbyn eventually reverse some of the worst excesses of Thatcherism for example.

                  There’s an agenda behind all this denialism that is tremendously corrosive of civic institutions like a free and fair press, of government that does not consist of military dictators or their spawn and so forth. And that agenda is hardwired into the propaganda of kleptostatists like Putin – one cannot simply repeat their lines without serving their agendas.

                  • In Vino

                    The old paranoia and spreading fear..
                    Russia is far less dangerous than you pretend. And those who point this out are far less corrosive than you claim.
                    I remember claims in the late 70s that with the number of tanks and soldiers the USSR had, they would be on the banks of the Rhine river in 3 days should war break out. Later, I read the rebuttal in the English ‘Spectator’ magazine. One third of those tanks were like the RNZAF jet fighters: unavailable for combat because needing maintenance or repair. And the soldiers could not all advance westwards because they were needed where they were to keep people like Ukrainians etc under control.
                    Same bullshit about the danger of USSR subs with missiles: it was later admitted by the US that they were advanced enough to have a tracker/hunter sub on the tail of every noisy USSR sub. Easily detected and tracked… Inferior technology.
                    While Russia is a big country that uses its resources wisely, it is still in no position to attack the West militarily. Russia has always been a poor country compared to Western industrialised countries. It is still basically a poor country.
                    Nothing has changed about Russia’s despotic methods of rule. But that has been known for years. Why are you surprised about it? I rather suspect that the West is in control and manipulating all this Skripal crap.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Both sides exaggerated military threats – it was their job security.

                      But the miserable life of ordinary citizens under soviet repression was not exaggerated, nor was the viciousness of the secret war waged between those powers.

                      “I rather suspect that the West is in control and manipulating all this Skripal crap.”

                      Of course the West is playing the Skripal story to some extent. But pretending that Russia is not is fatuous.

                    • In Vino

                      Well, we are nearly agreeing. Just a matter of which emphasis one finds appropriate? And is the West not grinding down many of its own citizens to a level of poverty that Russians have always known?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      There’s a little more to contemporary Russian repression than economics – the kleptocracy has prevented the development of a credible democratic process and a mature judiciary, which is why they can still kill dissenters and inconvenient persons with such frequency.

                      They are also very active in the propaganda sphere, having recognized the efficacy of the Al Jazeera model in providing alternative or locally based rational perspectives, they modeled RT on it.

                      When we come to issues like the Skripals, or MH17, or Trump’s banking links, the propaganda storm follows a recognizable pattern (as do Israeli efforts to oust Jeremy Corbyn for that matter), a similar intelligence driven campaign presented in the media as news.

                      Real news follows certain rules – attribution of sources for example – which make following the skein of any untruth relatively easy.

                      I’m not sure if you are aware of the data journalism of Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat for example, but he was able to use facebook posts from Russian military families to identify the BUK that shot down MH17 while the official Russian line was still photoshopped pictures of a Ukrainian fighter. I’m pretty sure that he subsequently was tipped off to some of the satellite images his agency had to pay to see, by intelligence agencies who wanted that inconvenient-to-Russia truth to come out.

                      Russia in turn has largely co-opted Assange’s infrastructure for it’s own leaks, and RT has descended considerably from the journalistic model it initially ran while it was building credibility.

                      There’s a kind of dynamic tension between the self-styled great powers here, and I’m concerned when otherwise mature adults roll over and just sing RT cant – it adds nothing to debate – it’s designed not to get to the truth but to prevent rational analysis, And the upshot is a Left too divided to address issues like the bombing of civilians in Syria – which is absurd – because the infrastructure of oppression, of bombs and bombers, is never in the hands of the poor and the oppressed.

                    • In Vino

                      All fair and good – but I don’t like us rolling over and accepting obfuscatory bullshit from our own side either. Fair?

  8. Michael 8

    It’s not clear whether these two men are, in fact, the innocent parties they claim to be. The Russian government is run by KGB dirty tricks operatives, for whom no lie is too great and no act is too foul, if it preserves their power and wealth. Where “Russia” is concerned (and I mean it’s government, which extend far wider and deeper than western governments), it is best not to take its statements at face value. Russia exploits western gullibility time and time again. Containment is the best policy unless or until Russia demonstrates that it will observe civilised norms of behaviour.

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    Good on you Bill for continuing to push this. All I know is that the UK government has been pushing a crock and so you can’t give any credence to anything they say whether it is true or not, because we will never know.

  10. esoteric pineapples 10

    Anyone remember the Brazilian killed point blank on a train by British police who thought he was a terrorist. No one got found guilty of that.

    • James 10.1

      Nice false equivalence.

      • esoteric pineapples 10.1.1

        I don’t see why. The point is that the British security services are quite good at making lethal mistakes.

        • McFlock

          In that case, people know who exactly fired the shots and who they worked for.

          Now, it is a good case study in how domestic law enforcement often covers its arse with flurries of disinformation (the allegation de Menezes had jumped turnstiles rather than paying, a brightened photo to make him look more like the suspect he was supposedly mistaken for, the “police!” identification call that was never made, etc), but it’s not comparable to factors in the Salisbury poisoning case. For a start, if they’d been responsible the brits would have cleaned up their poison bottle.

          • Dukeofurl

            Its an example of ‘group think’

            They all end up making something implausible into something that is real.

            History of that in the Hillsborough Soccer stadium coverup, and BOTH The Irish Bloody Sundays ( Derry and Dublin) coverups.

            Interesting that an Irish Mp in the house of Commons was assaulted by other Mps when he tried to ask questions about the 1920 massacre at Croke Park

            • McFlock

              The innocent Brazilian being shot was group think leading to a snap decision.

              The coverups aren’t. Those are directed actions. Pretty much always – someone is giving orders with the sole objective of muddying the waters to cover their own arse.

  11. esoteric pineapples 11

    In societies where there is a certain level of freedom of information, one of the most effective ways to spread dis-information is simply put the message you want people to believe in the headline. Most people are too busy to follow the majority of news stories closely and so if they see a headline like “Two Russians behind plot discovered” they will simply take this as fact and then move on. Personally, I’ve found it amazing how many news stories I have found out more about later, contain facts that are completely the opposite of the picture I have built up at the time from the headlines.

  12. esoteric pineapples 12

    These two guys strike me as a couple of patsies who were part of something but are being played as part of a bigger picture.

    • Stuart Munro 12.1

      That may be true even if they are entirely guilty. It is not unheard of for self-styled great powers to abandon agents who become inconvenient.

  13. Andre 13

    I’m interested in how a small dose of russian state media is like kryptonite to many of those normally possessed of media hyperscrutiny superpowers.

    • Stunned mullet 13.1

      Bill still hasn’t forgiven the English for the outrages of Edward Longshanks.

      • adam 13.1.1

        Another sad comment by Stunned Mullet attacking the author. Been a few this post mate, how about you actually run with facts than this BS your running with? Too soon?

  14. R.P Mcmurphy 14

    well that was a marvellous exposition of marxist leninist stalinist mao tse tung thought!

    • marty mars 15.1

      That’s a good link thanks. It’s funny this ‘no man would be seen wirh women’s perfume in their bag’ when like it’s not that unusual really.

    • Adrian Thornton 15.2

      “I’m interested in how a small dose of russian state media is like kryptonite to many of those normally possessed of media hyperscrutiny superpowers”

      ….and then without the slightest hint of irony, actually puts up a Daily Mail link in support of his argument…a beautiful and hilarious moment on The Standard, unfortunately to late in the night for many others to enjoy, what a shame.

      • Andre 15.2.1

        Do you have anything to say about the points made in that Daily Mail piece? Some of them you can even check out for yourself, such as the absence of snow or slush in the photos.

        As for interpreting the body language of someone from a different culture in a very odd setting and who may have had some very unusual training, it’s very easy for there to be a lot of seeing what you want to see.

        Lindy Chamberlain reportedly got falsely put away partly because of how her body language was interpreted. I have a cousin that spent months defending someone against a murder charge that came about primarily because first responders thought the accused’s body language “wasn’t right”. The case fell apart when fresh evidence turned up that completely exonerated the accused.

        • Bill

          If you want pictures and reports of the weather over those days, go through the links I provided in this previous comment.

          As for the Mails “glaring flaws”

          1. What novichok in the room? The novichok that keeled over umpteen guests in the past six months? The novichok two guys decided to “test drive” in a hotel room because….I dunno…the door handles were a challenging shape?

          2. The day they flew into Britain, “everything” was at a stand still. And they stated they intended to be in London and do a day trip. No idea what’s so suspicious about that.

          3. On the Saturday, the problem was slush, not snow, making their feet wet and cold (and if you’ve never experienced slush, I’d suggest you hold your tongue on the whole “Russians and cold” front). Sunday afternoon, they said it got overcast and began to sleet.

          4. They went wandering, or struck off in the wrong direction? Of itself, a nothing. You’ve surely done it yourself in a new place, no?

          5. Well yes, no CCTV stills of them at the cathedral (released by UK authorities?) Apparently they took photos though, which I guess they may feature in and that media may convince them to show.

          6. As you can see from the link I’ve provided, both Stonehenge and Old Sarum were shut on the Saturday (3rd) because of snow and Old Sarum was still shut on the Sunday (4th). The Mail only mentions that Stonehenge was open on the Sunday.

          7. Date (or video tape time stamp?) are for the UK authorities to explain.

          8. I didn’t hear any official Russian statement claiming all the CCTV stills were faked.

          9. That the Skripals were poisoned on that day, doesn’t mean anything with regards their claims.

          10. I know nothing about flights being pre – booked for both Sunday and Monday.

          • Andre

            You appear to be confused about the difference in concentrations of a substance that are detectable and the concentrations that are immediately toxic. That something is detectable doesn’t mean it’s present in an amount that’s harmful, as shown by the meth house debacle. I’d be more interested in hearing about the detection methods and the probability of false positives, but then I wouldn’t necessarily expect that kind of detail about methods and capabilities to be publicly disclosed. If I were on a jury however, I would expect to hear it or I would consider talk about about results without talk about methods to be just a baffle with bullshit exercise.

            I’ve spent 6 years living where winter snow, and slush was present for months on end, and enjoy snow sports so most winters I’m around a fair bit of snow and slush and crap weather. I find the suggestion utterly laughable that someone from Russia (y’know, where there’s lots of snow and slush) travelling to where there had been a well publicised storm going on for the past week, would arrive with footwear so unsuitable they would need to alter their plans to buy replacements, as if they were going to Club Med. But hey, if you’re sufficiently motivated, I suppose you could swallow it with a straight face.

            Their explanation that they went through the same entry gate is very likely demonstrably false (remember the shouting about the different camera angles?), yet also corroborates a very good reason for the time stamps being the same: they were going through parallel passages at the same time.

            One add coincidence of timing could be just bad luck. Add up enough odd coincidences, however, and it starts to become reasonable to think it’s something other than just bad luck.

            • Bill

              I find the suggestion utterly laughable that someone from Russia […]would arrive with footwear so unsuitable …

              Here are two CCTV stills from a quick google image search. The first link is to one from the 3rd. The second to one from the 4th. Note the footwear. On the 3rd, they are wearing trainers. As you will know, you “can’t” wear trainers in slush.

              So yeah, maybe it’s funny they turned up in that gear. But they did. And their account of themselves stacks up. (Or are we to insist that Russians don’t fly to foreign cities for a two or three day break to take in some local sites…like people from every other damned country do?)



              Until some evidence to the contrary is produced, or unless the idea is simply to be led by paranoid bullshit about everything Russian, the situation is that those guys were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

              edit – in the interview they are quite clear that they don’t recall the exact situation re – the corridor, but state that they always go through the same queue at passport control because one of them has far better English than the other. As they say, the same time stamp – or is it a video run time stamp? – is down to UK authorities to explain.

            • RedLogix

              Nah … I don’t buy your ‘unsuitable’ footwear thing. I’ve travelled quite a bit to all sorts of odd climates and quite often I finish up either buying or being issued more suitable footwear when I arrive locally.

              Either big warm boots were too heavy pack or I just didn’t think it through. In my experience their narrative is not unreasonable.

        • Adrian Thornton

          I don’t read The Daily Mail, especially if I can avoid it.

          I spent a few days on the jury of a sexual assault charge brought against a man on a 12 yo girl (the daughter of his girlfriend), it was obvious to me from the very beginning that something didn’t make sense in this case (keeping in mind that my own daughter was about 12 yo at the time, and I am pretty sure I would fuck up anybody who touched her in the way alleged) however 6 people on jury immediately made it clear in our first meeting, that they were sure he was guilty, 3 were undecided, and 3 leaning toward innocence.
          After three days, and having to endure what would have to have been the most incompetent defense lawyer in New Zealand, the jury was at 9 to 3 toward guilty.

          I was by this stage absolutely convinced that this guy was some sort of sad chump who had been used by some very manipulative people, who all seemed to have serious addiction problems. The accused seemed to be the only one working, he actually lived in Taranaki working as a linesman (or something similar), and would drive all the way the Bay on Friday evening to be with this woman and drive home Sunday night.
          As far as i could make out he spent most weekends working either on their cars or houses.
          The recorded police interview was just bizarre, it was like something from Monty Python,
          The Police interviewed the mother and her friend while the daughter was present…infact I think she might have been holding her mothers hand.

          I felt that justice would prevail though, as the two remaining people who thought he was innocent were two very strong and independent woman in their early 50’s.
          They both approached me together just before the final verdict was to be given, and said that they were very glad that I have been so outspoken in my defense of this man, whom they both believed to be innocent.

          When the jury gave it’s verdict, the judge wasn’t please at all and instructed us in no uncertain terms (I would say bullying tones were used) to go back and come to a consensus.
          The two woman caved within 5 minutes after that little bit of pressure from such an authority figure.

          I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes, these woman had succumbed so easily, wether he was innocent or not is not the point of the story, the point is 6 of our fellow citizens were prepared to convict and man and fuck up the rest of his life after hearing less than half a days evidence ( I think we all know why)
          2 others actually convicted him knowing he was innocent.

          Bill is just saying, sit back wait for some indisputable evidence and then make your judgment…and I agree.

          • RedLogix

            Yup. Similar experience on a jury myself; although in this instance only one very quiet Indian woman and myself were convinced of his innocence. It was only at the very last moment that the judge allowed us to review some crucial police evidence again, that the false abduction and rape allegation became obvious to everyone.

            It all hinged on an absurd detail and I won’t rehash the whole story over 20 years later, but it did reveal to me how incredibly devious people can be and as you say, just how fickle juries can be. One young blowhard in particular was ideologically determined to convict simply on the grounds that ‘there is no such thing as a false rape allegation’. Got quite offensive about it, but we got no retraction when the truth became undeniable.

          • Morrissey

            Sounds like the sort of judge Chris “Haw Haw” Trotter would respect.


            • Adrian Thornton

              Ha, thanks for that Morrissey, I don’t know what it is, but there something about Noelle McCarthy that makes me want to smash my head into the closest wall as soon as I hear her voice…turning off the radio also helps.

      • McFlock 15.2.2

        To be fair, the Daily Mail actually putting up a coherent and apparently reasonable article is a bit suspicious, lol

        • Andre

          Yeah. The whole ‘consider the argument, don’t just dismiss it coz of where it came from’ thing was part of the motivation for posting it.

          • Bill

            It’s a litany of half truths, innuendo and misleading nonsense. In fact, the exact same pattern of presentation that marks the kind of propaganda that many around here immediately jump up to condemn as “fake” news.

  15. adam 16

    Sheesh Bill your brave. But there is no point trying to defend ordinary people from the hard core devotees of liberalism on this site. They just don’t give a rats about the possibility of real people having their lives done over.

    • Bill 16.1

      I just find it really weird (and quite fascinating) that so many people approach stuff like this as would members of some cult if their “received wisdoms” were subjected to criticism or scrutiny…y’know, ignore the substance of what’s being said and burn the witch! – or scream those self same “received wisdoms” or dogma at them 🙂

  16. corodale 17

    Gas explosions in Massachusetts duplicated in Mexico yesterday. Stuxnet cyber attacks? Simple malfunctions, I suspect not.

    It would not surprise me if these are the real Russian attacks. But UK/May talk in riddles with symbolic lies. Don’t want to alarm folk, but perhaps Russians could potentially explode nuclear power plants via the internet… I suspect the truth is somewhere in this direction.

    Fiction may be as much as we can handle. On a planet this big, we may not be ready for the truth.

    Sorry if that sounds anti-Russian, I’m not trying to take sides, just pointing out what looks likely. Hey, it could be the Dems as part of their blue revolution. Time will tell.

  17. Adrian Thornton 18

    I have just got home and watched the interview, those poor guys look like opossums in the preverbal headlight, I don’t profess to have any deep or special insight into human behavior, but I do know a scared one when I see one, and these guys looked liked they where right in the middle of a shitty journey to somewhere bad.

    I thought the interviewer was good, pretty pressing, someone made an comparison to Kim Hill, which I would agree with if we were maybe talking about Kim from a quite few years back.

    Thanks for your piece Bill.

  18. Richard 19

    I hadn’t been convinced by Bill’s arguments about Russia and the UK till I saw those two Russian guys on RT.

    So clear they’re just tourists on a 2 day trip to the UK to Salisbury to see the cathedral. Everyone does that, so utterly believable.

    Kia kaha Bill keep standing up for Putin!

    • adam 19.1

      Another lying troll, sheesh the idiots are out today.

      So where did Bill defend Putin?

      Or are you just another useful idiot for MI6 – oh look how easy it is, to play that game.

      • Richard 19.1.1

        “So where did Bill defend Putin?”

        By taking RT’s talking points and other Russian disinformation and regurgitating it in blog after blog. Plop Bill into another decade and he’d probably be defending Mao and Stalin.

        And where did I lie? I’m afraid sarcasm doesn’t count in that regard.

  19. Jenny 20

    Comedy Gold

    Skripal suspects display impressive command of Wikipedia
    John Crace – The Guardian, September 13, 2018

    They were just two ordinary guys who had wanted to see Salisbury cathedral’s 123-metre spire

    ….A day after Vladimir Putin had announced it would be fine by him if the two men accused of the Salisbury poisonings chose to go on TV to give the version of events that had been agreed by the Russian security services, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov found a gap in their busy diaries to squeeze themselves into a small Moscow studio. There they were confronted by the most feared interviewer in global broadcasting, Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief.

    Simonyan didn’t pull her punches. “You do look like the men in the pictures,” she began hesitantly. That’s because they were the men in the CCTV footage, both men replied…..

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    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    7 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    7 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    7 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    1 week ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    1 week ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy
    1 week ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • More homes where they are needed
    More houses for homeless New Zealanders are being opened today in Tauranga by Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi. Six 2-bedroom quality units are being opened at 878 Cameron Road by Minister Faafoi and Accessible Properties, a local Community Housing Provider (CHP). Accessible Properties now provides more than 1,700 community housing ...
    44 mins ago
  • Minister of Finance and Sport and Recreation to visit Japan and Vietnam
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson departs tomorrow for events and meetings in Japan and Vietnam.  While in Japan, he will discuss economic and fiscal issues including meeting with the Minister of Finance, Taro Aso, and Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, Yasutoshi Nishimura. He will meet with the Minister of Education, ...
    15 hours ago
  • Dashboard tracks housing progress
    The Government’s Housing Dashboard released today confirms record numbers of state houses are under construction and shows the Government build programme is gaining momentum.  “After nine years of inaction, and a hands-off attitude from the previous government we’re starting to see things move in the right direction for housing,” says ...
    16 hours ago
  • Ministerial Statement on the International Convention Centre fire
    Mr Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement relating to the Auckland fire. The Government is closely monitoring the situation with the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre and is thankful that everyone is now safe. Firefighters are doing an incredible job managing the fire and bringing it ...
    18 hours ago
  • Government invests in Te Reo, environmental data research
    The Government is investing in ambitious research that will digitise Te Reo, grow the low-carbon protein efficient aquaculture industry, help interpret environmental trends, and large data sets says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The four projects range from teaching Siri to speak Te Reo to crunching large environmental ...
    22 hours ago
  • Government announces next steps as part of a comprehensive plan to fix skills gap
    A new education-to-employment brokerage service to strengthen connections between local employers and schools. Funding for more trades focused ‘speed-dating’ events to connect schools with employers. Promotional campaign to raise profile of vocational education. The Government is taking action to increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and ...
    24 hours ago
  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    2 days ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    2 days ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    2 days ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    2 days ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    3 days ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    6 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    6 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    6 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    6 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    6 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    6 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    7 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    7 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    7 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    7 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    7 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    1 week ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    1 week ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    1 week ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    1 week ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    1 week ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    1 week ago