The Brady Papers

Written By: - Date published: 3:03 pm, May 10th, 2019 - 54 comments
Categories: China, Deep stuff, defence, International, israel, Media, military, Propaganda, Russia, spin, Spying, surveillance, us politics, war - Tags:

Anne-Marie Brady submitted to yesterday’s Select Committee Inquiry into foreign interference in our elections, making copious reference to her “Magic Weapons” paper of 2017. She didn’t mention another paper which casts a much different light on her independence and purpose

The Magic Weapons paper attacking China was delivered in Washington DC at a conference sponsored by the Taiwanese Institute for Democracy. She made  much of the fact that she is a scholar, mentioned its seven pages of footnotes and lectured MPs who had not read it. I have read it.

Her other paper was sponsored by and presumably received some funding from NATO. It was a direct plea to the Labour government to take up her particular ideas about China.  The sponsoring NATO website says that this group funds material that supports its strategic objectives, in this case fighting their declared adversaries Russia and China. Countering China was top of their list at their recent 70th anniversary celebrations also in Washington DC, where the real power lies.

So Brady is not just an academic. She is also one of many academics and journalists that the CIA would call an “asset.” She is advocating a strategic position on behalf of a foreign power, the very thing the Select Committee was set up to investigate. I did make this point in my submission.

On Brady’s  main point another Professor, Paul Clark from Auckland University, had this to say:

it would be utterly erroneous to leap to an assumption that all Chinese are somehow tools of the Party-state.

What this select committee can do is shed light and offer transparency, rather than retailing conspiracy and paranoia. There has been a flurry of ill-informed commentary and unsubstantiated allegations about Chinese interference in the last 18 months or so.

As I said I have read the “Magic Weapons” Paper. In my opinion it is long on lists, hence the abundant footnotes, heavy on insinuation, and absent proof, Which is why the Select Committee members pressed her for this.

Another very interesting submission came from Naisi Chen. She related how she had been named by Brady in the Magic Weapons paper without any reference to her. She had this to say:

In University I was lucky enough to be chosen for the Young Leaders Program by the Office of Ethnic Communities and then went on to become the President of the New Zealand Chinese Students Association (“NZCSA”). It happens that this particular experience of my life lead Professor Brady to make false accusations that I was somehow promoting the interest of the Chinese government.

The media narrative remained fixated on Brady’s complaints. So RadioNZ here, the Herald here, and Stuff here. But there were some signs of desperation that it’s not working in this article in Newsroom.

While committee members questioned Brady on whether her allegations were based on fact, she sat with her hand on her heart and pleaded for MPs to focus on solutions.

Not very convincing. How dare MPs not follow the media’s line and look for proof.

54 comments on “The Brady Papers ”

  1. marty mars 1

    I’ve always had a lot of questions regarding Brady . Thanks for this post.

    • Tiger Mountain 1.1

      Ditto regarding Anne-Marie Brady.

      With the technology available today, are spies of whatever stripe really going burgle and sabotage vehicles of people like Brady? Sure the NZSIS has been caught in the act with the bungled break in of Mr Aziz Choudhry’s Christchurch residence in 1996, and around the world some really idiotic things have been done by security agencies–but in 2019, in NZ, really?

      Her writing is rather partisan to be taken too seriously as an academic work. And I am not a major fan of the Chinese Govt.

      • Anne 1.1.1

        With the technology available today, are spies of whatever stripe really going burgle and sabotage vehicles of people like Brady?

        If my former experiences are any indication TM it's not the spies themselves who carry out the harassment but some of their 'hangers-on'. And not always with their knowledge.

        Setting aside whether you agree with her synopsis or not, it is my pick some former Chinese nationals living in NZ are responsible for the harassment and they are doing it of their own volition without the knowledge or approval of the Chinese government.

        In my case two ultra right wing people I once knew covertly harassed and intimidated me in a similar way. It was linked to my support for the NZ anti-nuclear movement of the l980s.

  2. francesca 2

    Thanks Mike

    I've always felt that Brady had too much of an agenda to be a credible "expert" on China.

    We do have to be alert to other countries attempting to bend us to their wills, but so far Israel, the UK, and the US take the lead in this.

    Our culture and language has become utterly swamped by North American themes.

    Our news media repeats CNN with absolutely no fact checking filter..It dismays me that our military joins in exercises with the US, who are tearing up international treaties and breaching international law

    We bang on about human rights issues in China but turn a blind eye to the glaring abuses of the US military, its police in its own country, and its belligerent threats to all who won't bend the knee.

    So where are our academic "experts" on the US and their influence on our politics ?

    • SPC 2.1

      The Americans prosecuted and imprisoned the Russian Maria Butina for founding a Russian gun lobby group and then networking with the NRA while in the USA as a student. On the grounds she had not declared herself a "foreign agent" before doing so.

      Imagine if an American of the NRA came here to support locals against gun law change – would we arrest them for whatever crime Butina was imprisoned for?

  3. michelle 3

    But she has a right to her opinion whether we agree with it or not as we have right to ask for evidence to support her views

  4. gsays 4

    To a reasonably uninformed eye, this isn't a binary situation.

    By that I mean Prof Brady isn't wholly correct nor incorrect.

    Everyone has their lenses and biases. Including, with the greatest respect, the author of this post.

  5. Unicus 5

    Good Ol Mike certainly fits Brady's profile of the slavish forign servant of the CCP "the water on the sandstone"

    Interesting to that only Newsroom published her courageous submission in full . The Herald as usual diminished her contributions -as the rant of a proven paranoiac – an approach perhaps indicative of the fact that a near broke newspaper is a juicy target as a "borrowed boat" for the endlessly exploitative Chinese intelligence services .

    I have to agree with one of Mikes points – that not all Chinese living here are spies for the CCP – however since Dr Brady and other academic patriots let the cat out of the bag on the nsidious activities of their government most cautious new zealanders now believe exactly that.

  6. David Mac 6

    Over a short period of time the Chinese have played the international 'make stuff and sell it' game and thrashed the long established players.

    I'm more concerned about being absolutely encompassed in products manufactured in China than I am about sneaky little moles planting bugs.

    NZ made is a token response. The sewing machine, the thread, the cloth, the computer, the lightbulbs, the YKK zips, the cables, buttons, elastic, eyeglasses, filing cabinet, cement floor, carpet, loom that made the carpet, nylon thread in the carpet loom…..There is no escaping Chinese manufacturing dominance.

    That's where our focus should be, that's where the action is. Let them sniff around the few lousy skeletons in our closets. If they wanna, we ain't gonna stop them.

    • China is about to become the largest economy on the planet, a planet being eaten up by consumerism at multiplier amounts. The US argues that the trading wheels of over parenting the Chinese economy, from the communist govt there has to stop. Realistically though, either global consumerism ends, or planet ecology tips, long before China changes it's oppressive mindset. In short don't buy into internet of things and sit back and see which, or all, of the crisis occur to global capitalism, polluted politucs, economics, environment, it's zombie times.

  7. Wayne 7

    The situation is not nearly as open or shut as Mike Smith suggests.

    I said on Q & A last year that I had read most of Dr Brady's work and basically wasn't convinced. Certainly not at the scale she has suggested.

    But that is not to say there isn't pretty substantial activity by the Chinese government in New Zealand. The sheer size of their legations in Auckland and in Wellington are a clear enough indication. They are much larger (particularly the Auckland Office) than any other nation's legations. Their diplomats are very active in the numerous local Chinese organisations (those connected to the Peoples Republic, rather than Taiwan).

    In the case of China, New Zealand is dealing with a one party state, which has become more assertive in recent years. Such a state is clearly much more monolithic than any democratic state. And will have less regard to human rights.

    The sheer scale of the camps in western China to which they send their citizens for "re-education" has been a real eye opener. I was of the opinion that such things had ended with the fall of Maoism in the 1970's. It is hard to imagine such a thing occurring in modern democracy (including the US for those of you think the US routinely does things like that).

    So we are right to be cautious about China. But neither should we see a conspiracy at every corner. We just have to be careful about our own interests, and find effective ways to deal with both great powers in the Asia Pacific. In my view we have managed that pretty well over the last 30 years, but it is likely to become more difficult to find the right balance in the future.

    • Anne 7.1

      So we are right to be cautious about China. But neither should we see a conspiracy at every corner.

      Agree Wayne. However my scenario that a handful of Chinese nationals living in NZ have taken it upon themselves to hastle and intimidate AM Brady is imo the most likely scenario. Somebody obviously is intimidating her and it has to be linked to her research work.

      It's pointless people kidding themselves she's making it up because she clearly is not. It's a common form of covert harassment and has been going on since God made little apples albeit for differing political reasons.

      • cleangreen 7.1.1

        smileyAgreed Anne 100%

        • Anne 7.1.1.1

          Don't know if it has ever happened to you cleangreen, but for those who have had the misfortune to be targeted in this way, it is a terrifying experience. You don't know how far the person/persons responsible are prepared to go. It took me years to discover my tormentors' identities by which time it was too late to do anything about it.

          From this perspective, I feel for Anne Marie Brady because I know what it is like, and I know it will also be having an adverse affect on her family.

    • David Mac 7.2

      I thought it was a beat up, but apparently no, in a symbolic gesture, the family of an executed Chinese individual receive an invoice for the cost of the bullet.

      It's hard to maintain a warm friendship with those we feel fundamentally opposed to.

      Before judging how they do things in China I try and ask myself a question like… 'How would I feel if the Chinese govt started lobbying the manner in which we deal with our law breakers?'

      The best solution is invariably, be diplomatically civil whilst pointing towards a better way. Nobody starts doing things differently when the invitation to do so is a thinly veiled slagging.

    • Mike Smith 7.3

      My concern is the lack of balance in relation to foreign interference in our polity. Media attention in the Select Committee was solely devoted to China, as though it was the only interfering source which is manifestly not the case as I know from experience.

      I also think your assertions about China as a monolithic etc state that will have less regard to human rights than a democracy is way too sweeping. China has a civilisation developed over millennia that is different from ours, but has its own values and ethic and indeed feedback systems that are not necessarily inferior to ours.

      I think China is assertive in trade and defensive militarily. The US in contrast is offensive militarily. It has made an official shift from "war against terror" to war against states, specifically China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. Sanctions aimed at whole populations against Iran and Venezuela in search of regime change are massive infractions of human rights, and lead the world dangerously close to catastrophic war.

      I think this also needs to be part of our discourse.

      • Anne 7.3.1

        I think China is assertive in trade and defensive militarily. The US in contrast is offensive militarily…

        and defensive in trade.

        Am with you there Mike Smith. And it certainly should be part of the general discourse but it never will be while we play war games with the US as they are currently doing at this moment in the Auckland region.

        No disrespect to the personnel taking part, but the way their leaders under the Trump regime in particular are conducting themselves on the world stage is, as you say, leaving us wide open to another catastrophic war.

        The way things are going that war is not far away!

  8. Cinny 8

    Thanks for this post, super helpful and insightful info.

    Helpful and insightful comments too, very much appreciated

  9. Booker 9

    Interesting post. I started reading the Magic Weapons paper in order to see what all this was about. I say started as I never mustered the strength to keep going. I work in science and have spent about half my life training in or working in a university environment. Let’s just the content of her work didn’t impress me enough to keep reading all the way through.

    • "Scientist isn't impressed with content of social scientist's publication." That's a constant that doesn't really tell us anything.

      • That_guy 9.1.1

        I'm a biologist and I'm regularly disgusted by how some of my colleagues casually dismiss social science as woo-woo. Often it boils down to not understanding the technical terms in sociology, and then jumping straight from "I don't understand this" to "this is woo-woo".

  10. David Mac 10

    Brady's message is 'Keep an eye on these jokers, they can play dirty when they feel it's called for.'

    'No shit Sherlock.'

    We're entering into 2 generations of Chinese global domination. Then we'll move onto the African nations that assemble shoes and T-Shirts for the next 50 years and then they'll be boss.

    We're gonna miss that, bummer, Africa rising like China would be cool.

  11. Morrissey 11

    Useful idiot, she is.

    • cleangreen 11.1

      No Mosrrissey.

      Brady is right to say keep the Chinese carefully watched.

      They are opportunists simply and will steal at any chance for their advantage.

      I lived in Canada and Africa and saw what they do there.

      No Don’t sleep while they are here.

    • Thanks, Yoda. Perhaps one day you'll make it to "useful" yourself.

  12. Morrissey 12

    You're quite correct about the nature of the Chinese regime. I agree with you. However, it is concerning that Prof. Brady lacks the nous to stay independent of right wing Taiwanese "think tanks" and NATO, which is a dastardly organization.

  13. it would be utterly erroneous to leap to an assumption that all Chinese are somehow tools of the Party-state.

    Good job no-one's doing that, then. Phew! Crisis averted.

  14. CHCoff 14

    But who's dragon is doing the firebreathing here??

    someones!

  15. Ad 15

    Apparently there's absolutely no problem when Labour holds the donations from wealthy Chinese individuals to Simon Bridges. As per the post from Mickey Savage today.

    But when a Labour candidate get s a very minor criticism, oh no, trigger warning. The candidate couldn't possibly cope after all. No reason to provide proof when a good old Labour smear against an expert academic serves the Labour Party's interests against National.

    This post is a hollow gong of hypocrisy.

    Time to defend the interests of New Zealand by providing the same scrutiny to all candidates, and their donors, no matter their origin.

    • Mike Smith 15.1

      With respect I don't think it is me that is the hollow gong.

      Regarding donations to political parties, in my submission to the Select Committee I advocated adopting the Canadian approach, which bans corporate donations from any source and requires disclosure of all donations over $200. In return, Canada provides government funds for election campaign expenses.

      On that matter I agree with Anne-Marie Brady, but not because of concerns about Chinese in particular.

      • Psycho Milt 15.1.1

        Not "concerns about Chinese" but "concerns about the totalitarian communist government of China." Those are different things and it's misleading to conflate them.

        The particular concerns are the Chinese government's attempts to influence NZ politics via local ex-pats, and the effects of those attempts on local ex-pats. Many of the ex-pats are NZ permanent residents or citizens, so Chinese government attempts to influence or intimidate those people should be just as much a concern to the NZ government as the attempts to influence our politics. In addition, many of them emigrated from China because they didn't want the Chinese Communist Party dominating their lives, so we have an obligation to protect them as new fellow citizens from having that happen to them here.

      • The Chairman 15.1.2

        Non-disclosure re donations leaves the door ajar for unscrupulous manipulation.

  16. SPC 16

    We should simply end foreigners and other non citizens from funding our political parties. And I would include in that permanent residents who can vote (permanent citizens can vote but not stand for parliament).

    We could join other nations and require citizenship before people vote.

  17. Unicus 17

    100%

    Prof Brady's primary interest is to defend New Zealands independence and sovrignity from the negative intentions of an identified foreign power The Labour Party needs to drop its self serving disparagement of Brady and use her vast knowledge as the basis of a responsible strategy in defence of the citizens of our country.

    That of course means abandoning the opaaque smokescreen that "brutal"American hegemony is sufficient justification for approving China's political interference here

    • Anne 17.1

      To be fair, I don't think it's the Labour Party who are being disparaging, but rather a handful of people within who I suspect have misunderstood her intentions or maybe have other agendas to consider.

      • Incognito 17.1.1

        It seems to me, by way of observation, that the academic researcher Professor Brady has moved from being an honest broker of knowledge to being an advocate and proponent.

        • Anne 17.1.1.1

          I suspect she's going with whoever is willing to listen to her and I can't really blame her for that. She doesn't seem to have been treated very well by some influential figures in NZ.

  18. greywarshark 18

    The Newsroom quote from the post:

    While committee members questioned Brady on whether her allegations were based on fact, she sat with her hand on her heart and pleaded for MPs to focus on solutions.

    Is this actual fact? Did she put her hand on her heart? Or is that a rhetorical flourish.

    Thanks for this post, it's good to find firm ground when so much reporting is looking through paras of opinion, each one suitable to generate a catchy headline.

    • Anne 18.1

      If she did put her "hand on her heart" it was likely an inadvertent gesture and therefore there was no reason for the author to mention it. To do so is to infer she was being melodramatic and, while she clearly feels strongly about her area of expertise, she doesn't come across to me as that type of person.

      • greywarshark 18.1.1

        My point exactly. There is a lot of emotional opinionated stuff talked about this woman. That's why it is good to hear some facts and have her output seen against a factual, practical background not favouring one bias or another.

  19. That_guy 19

    I'm sorry: get real. This is the context:

    The government of China is most of the way towards an orwellian surveillance state, complete with total surveillance via smartphones, "loyalty" scores for all citizens, and facial recognition of all citizens.

    These orwellian methods of controlling citizens are now being exported to autocratic regimes, and the government of China has repeatedly attempted to exert influence on non-citizens of Chinese ethnicity in multiple countries, including attempting to limit or suppress debate, especially on the status of the free and independent nation of Taiwan, and of the gross, sickening and ongoing human rights violations in China.

    There are literally millions of Uighurs in concentration camps with absolutely zero international oversight, with multiple reports of assaults, rapes, and murders.

    There are a number of unsolved crimes committed against Brady including an incident which could easily be interpreted as attempted murder.

    The left must have a credible and honest conversation about this. Brady has to be a part of it. This conversation cannot include screaming racism anytime anyone mentions the word "China". This conversation cannot include whining about Trump and how America's just as bad, because that's whataboutery.

    • joe90 19.1

      Context.

      https://twitter.com/usatodayopinion/status/1126490758373048321

      The world is finally waking up to the ongoing and terrifying violations of human rights against the Uighurs — a Muslim minority in Northwest China. My own family is victim to these violations. As both an American citizen and a Uighur, this disaster has ravaged my heart, and shaken me to my very core.

      Last September, six days after I spoke about China’s human rights abuses at the Hudson Institute, Chinese police abducted my sister and aunt from their homes. My family members, who both live in Xinjiang but hundreds of miles apart, were abducted on the same day, as a tactic to silence me and stop my activism in the United States. The government has seized the family members of other Uighur Americans who speak out about their human rights violations — attempting to control and silence us in the United States, as they control and silence our families in China.

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/05/09/uighur-chinese-human-rights-violations-concentration-camps-column/1143252001/

      • That_guy 19.1.1

        Yes, exactly. This is why kiwis of Chinese ethnicity tend not to criticize the actions of the government of China. It's not because they are naturally apolitical or compliant or any other racist notion. It's because they have family in China.

  20. David Mac 20

    What is the best way for us to make a difference?

    Some would say 'Stop all trade'.

    I think the best way is to invite Chinese officials to a dinner at the NZ Embassy in China and serve a 100% Uighur menu, trigger a friendly conversation. If mouse NZ wants to influence the Dragon, stomping our foot will achieve nothing for nobody.

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