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To protect whistleblowers…

Written By: - Date published: 2:14 pm, December 17th, 2016 - 16 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, Spying - Tags: , ,

One of the claims made by Edward Snowden was that there were no effective channels in the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) to point out probably illegal programs of spying on US citizens, and morally questionable uses of commercial spying against allied nations. This claim appears to have been spectacularly validated on thursday with a POGO report that the NSA’s Inspector General, its final whistleblower protector, has been suspended for retaliating against another whistleblower.

While this report from POGO hasn’t been confirmed as far I can see 1. However they are a reputable organisation, so I have no reason to mistrust it. In fact their mission reads like what the Taxpayers Union is meant to be like if it wasn’t a Act/National partisan front.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

The POGO article states

Until just a few months ago, George Ellard occupied a position of trust as top watchdog of the National Security Agency, America’s principal collector of signals intelligence. Ellard was not only NSA’s Inspector General, but an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, the former contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified emails to publicly expose the agency’s domestic surveillance program. Snowden claimed, among other things, that his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping were ignored by the agency, and that he feared retaliation. Ellard publicly argued in 2014 that Snowden could have safely reported the allegations of NSA’s domestic surveillance directly to him.

Then last May, after eight months of inquiry and deliberation, a high-level Intelligence Community panel found that Ellard himself had previously retaliated against an NSA whistleblower, sources tell the Project On Government Oversight. Informed of that finding, NSA’s Director, Admiral Michael Rogers, promptly issued  Ellard a notice of proposed termination, although Ellard apparently remains an agency employee while on administrative leave, pending a possible response to his appeal from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

The closely held but unclassified finding against Ellard is not public. It was reached by following new whistleblower protections set forth by President Obama in an executive order, Presidential Policy Directive 19. (A President Trump could, in theory, eliminate the order.) Following PPD-19 procedures, a  first-ever External Review Panel (ERP) composed of three of the most experienced watchdogs in the US government was convened to examine the  issue.  The trio — IG’s of the Justice Department, Treasury, and CIA – overturned an earlier finding of the Department of Defense IG, which investigated Ellard but was unable to substantiate his alleged retaliation.

“The finding against Ellard is extraordinary and unprecedented,” notes Stephen Aftergood, Director of the Secrecy Program at the Federation of American Scientists. “This is the first real test drive for a new process of protecting intelligence whistleblowers. Until now, they’ve been at the mercy of their own agencies, and dependent on the whims of their superiors. This process is supposed to provide them security and a procedural foothold.”

“The case, which is still in progress, offers hopeful signs that the new framework may be working,” Aftergood added.

POGO learned of the decision against Ellard from sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. The information was later confirmed by government officials. POGO has been told that mention of the finding will appear in a semiannual report (SAR) of the Intelligence Community IG (ICIG) that should be released in the near future. It makes brief mention of the case without citing Ellard by name.

CommonDreams has a pretty good analysis of the implications in the US. In particular to the extent that it shows that Edward Snowden was correct in not pursuing attempts to point out the legal and ethical issues with various NSA programs within the whistleblower frameworks at the NSA.

Politico reported on Ellard’s 2014 comments:

“We have surprising success in resolving the complaints that are brought to us,” he said.

In Snowden’s case, Ellard said a complaint would have prompted an independent assessment into the constitutionality of the law that allows for the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata. But that review, he added, would have also shown the NSA was within the scope of the law.

“Perhaps it’s the case that we could have shown, we could have explained to Mr. Snowden his misperceptions, his lack of understanding of what we do,” Ellard said.

Yet documents confirmed earlier this year that Snowden had, indeed, reported concerns to several NSA officials—who took no action and discouraged him from continuing to voice concerns. Moreover, as Snowden toldVice News: “I was not protected by U.S. whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about law breaking in accordance with the recommended process.”

Ellard’s 2014 criticism of Snowden appears particularly threadbare after he has been found personally guilty of whistleblower retaliation.

Hopefully the NZ intelligence community have taken notice. Having people who operate with organisational malice towards whistleblowers inside organisations is a damn stupid idea. Sure they may be mistaken in their analysis. However having vindictive idiots trying to prevent short-term damage to their organisations is just a route to causing long-term harm to them. Whistleblowers may be people with a grudge (god knows that I get a lot of email like that) or with ethics that aren’t those of the organisation. However they will also act as the conscience against the embedded group-think of any organisation.

If you can’t operate with reasonable levels of transparency and clarity towards your own employees and contractors when they have issues with what the organisation is doing, why and with what authority, then you are really going to have issues when it eventually becomes public. In the connected world of today and the future, even more so than in antiquated historic (ie last decade) eras, everything becomes public.

It doesn’t matter if it is Russia trying to distort the US elections 2, the US taking stupid excesses with both their own citizens and apparently just about everyone else, or China breaking into commercial systems for cheap R&D. It always becomes public. These days it just becomes public a lot faster.

 


 

  1. I have found my first flight with affordable onboard net access. A Cathy Pacific A350-900. For me this is a landmark as the useless hours on a plane for work would be a lot more useful if I had net access.
  2. Which they appear to have had motive, means, and probably state sanction to do, and then dumped out via wikileaks. Assange is deluded. And Trump appears to be in denial 3.
  3. Sticking your fingers in the ears, like president-elect Trump appears to be doing over the assistance that the Russians appear to have given him, is just dumb. If he ignores or denies it as he is currently doing, then he will forever have everything he does being questioned as if he is a Russian stooge. His best bet is to push forward on a reasonably transparent, non-partisan and wide ranging enquiry. However I suspect that he confuses the narcissistic personal wants far more than he considers the damage to the body politic and his new role in it.

16 comments on “To protect whistleblowers… ”

  1. Conal 1

    Why do you say ‘Assange is deluded’?

    Is it to do with his insistence that WikiLeaks acquired DNC emails not from Russian sources, but from an American in Washington DC, who claimed to be passing them on from a disaffected Democratic Party insider? If so, what basis do you have for asserting that this is a delusion? You don’t think it’s credible that someone such as the late Seth Rich might have leaked the data? Why not?

    I notice that you don’t go so far as to claim that the Russian government definitely hacked the DNC and passed the information to Wikileaks, only that they “seem” to have done so. But if there’s any doubt in your mind, then your aspersion against Assange should have been at least a bit hedged, if you’re going to appear to be consistent.

    To me, this whole anti-Russia scaremongering from the CIA and their echo chamber just seems undignified and hysterical. What actual evidence is there that Russian hackers supplied Podesta’s email to Wikileaks? And I don’t mean anonymous sources asserting that they know something “with high confidence”.

    So why should we put any credence in the story? It’s not as if the CIA is a paragon of truth-telling. They are a spy and propaganda agency of the US government with vested interests in spinning a particular tale, and a universally-acknowledged history of lying to support US foreign policy agendas. Trump, for all his idiocy, has every right to recall the “weapons of mass destruction” propaganda that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq. The Washington Post, that “newspaper of record”, was also happy to repeat that lie. I’m not saying that Russian agencies did NOT spy on the DNC, but what I AM saying is that the CIA’s unsubstantiated assertions to that effect should carry exactly zero weight (perhaps even less!) with serious observers.

    In any case, even if Russian agencies DID spy on the DNC, that by no means precludes the possibility that DNC emails were also stolen by an insider, and leaked to WikiLeaks, independently of any hackers, as WikiLeaks officials claim.

    Circumstantially, the killing of DNC computer specialist Seth Rich (shot twice in the head, wallet and cell-phone still on his body) is highly suggestive of a political motive. It’s interesting that Assange has offered a reward for information on the killing. Of course the evidence here is just as circumstantial, but it’s telling that the story gets so little play in the establishment media, compared to the politically convenient “meddling Putin” story.

  2. lprent 2

    Oh what utter bullshit. You forget that I’m a programmer with more than a little expertise in network systems and the ways to stop people hacking into them. Even a cursory

    The range of sources that have been hacked into during this election season, both democrat and republican, points to a source using a large variety of techniques and a lot of skilled people. It has also been quite targeted and directed towards the political process. It isn’t a US source because that kind of activity would leak in double quick time if it was a private source trying to get enough skills together. It has to be a state player.

    Almost all of the damaging releases were all one way. To try to make Clinton look bad. Whereas the unexplained leaks targeting the republican side appear to have been targeted only at opponents of Trump during the primary.

    In fact the ONLY unexplained damaging leak during the campaign targeted against Trump was the release of details about the way he has not been paying taxes. Published by the Washington Post.

    So you’ have to ask what state player could have those skills available, and why did they do it.

    There is no motivation for any other large state players apart from Russia, North Korea and possibly Iran in trying to affect the US election towards Trump. Every other state player would prefer to have a stable US political system to deal with. But those 3 states have entrenched groups who would prefer that the US had a fool at the helm, each for their own reasons.

    Iran simply doesn’t have the capabilities. North Korea has developed some good groups. But they are too small to have intruded into so many sites. Whereas anyone who has anything to do with the underside of the net knows the extent that we get sophisticated probes at by Russians and Chinese hackers pretty continuously. Which provides a large pool of skills to recruit from.

    The Chinese have no particular motivations in gaining Trump. The Russian certainly do.

    As I said Assange is deluded if he thinks this came from anything apart from a state source, and that state source has to be outside the US. Who gives a pigs arse where the material was handed over? It isn’t hard to fly to a meeting point.

    Only Russia has both the skills base and the motivation. No amount of bullshit and probably paid for propaganda can obscure that to anyone who is technically literate.

    And that is before any actual hard evidence gets released. Sure this is guesswork, but it is educated guesswork. Which is a technique that you appear to lack.

    To me you just look like either a propaganda spinner or a religious nut (ie the ‘faithful’ who substitutes faith for brains). You sure as hell don’t look like you have looked at what evidence is available. Instead you just smear like the a illiterate fuckwit trying to obscure occams razor.

    As a working basis to operate on, it has a very high probability.

    • esoteric pineapples 2.1

      Thanks for that lprent. I feel confident it was a Russian hack, mostly based on comments from people I have confidence in, but this really helps solidify why.

      I also felt that even if it is unclear whether Russia was behind the hacks, as President-Elect, Trump needed to show some faith in his secret services as these are organs of the government representing and working in the interests of the American state and its inhabitants (even if they have behaved inappropriately in the past or given bad information). By undermining the credibility of his country’s own secret service, Trump was undermining American’s trust in their own government. This weakens the system of government.

      • Conal 2.1.1

        There were apparently a number of different attacks (including the phishing of John Podesta), and they may well have been by a number of different parties. Media reports I’ve read have identified two distinct “groups” with different code-names depending on which security firm is reporting on them. The groups have been distinguished and correlated with other hacks on a variety of different targets, based on a variety of technical metadata about their methods, working hours, and so on. But this kind of fingering is not an exact science. The tools used in hacking are tradeable items and not an unbreakable signature. The groups have been identified by some with different Russian intelligence agencies, but again, this is by no means a “slam dunk” (to use the old CIA phrase). I think the best that can be said in this respect is that at least some of the attacks probably involved Russian state security agencies.

        But in any case, as I’ve commented elsewhere, the data that WikiLeaks has published may well have had a different source. This means that the assertion that Russia deliberately interfered in US political affairs (not just spying, but actual meddling), and specifically with the intention to support Trump, is less probable again. I certainly would put any more weight on that assertion because one of the US intelligence agencies (especially the CIA!) made it.

      • Conal 2.1.2

        Why should Trump feel compelled to “show faith” in the secret police? Is it a religious requirement of the presidency? I don’t see why you should conflate the interests of the American state (the CIA?!) with the interests of its inhabitants. I am no fan of Trump, but honestly, anything he does that undermines the CIA I am going to count as a “silver lining”.

  3. Conal 3

    Wow lots of abuse there but little in the way of engaging with the points I actually made.

    By the way, I’m well aware you’re a programmer (I’m one myself)

    • lprent 3.1

      Perhaps you should realise that sticking to the topic of the post rather than a footnote makes it less likely that the author of the post will get cranky at you.

      You didn’t say a word about whistle blowers. Just made some assertions about things that you didn’t link to.

      I would guess that you are a script monkey rather than a programmer. The lack of attention to detail tends to be a characteristic of people who can’take write designed code.

      • Conal 3.1.1

        Nice trolling! But in fact I’m a skilled programmer with over 30 years of experience, during which time I’ve written code professionally in — off the top of my head — at least 2^4 different programming languages; high level, low level, procedural, object-oriented, functional…

  4. Conal Tuohy 4

    You’ve obviously responded to my perfectly polite comment with indecent haste in a haze of hostility that’s quite inappropriate. Why not take a deep breath, read what I actually wrote, and engage in a discussion, by explicitly addressing the points I made, and the questions I asked? And with a modicum of courtesy?

    • lprent 4.1

      Check one. When challenged with an argument, the idiot troll complains about politeness.

      Check two. Idiot troll wants to discuss their points (even when they haven’t made anything apart from assertions and no links) rather than what was in the post or what was written in response to their comment.

      I read exactly what you wrote, and I still think it is crap. Did you read what I wrote in either the post or the reply? It doesn’t seem like you did. If you had then you’d have referenced at least part of it rather than doing the usual whine about politeness.

      You ignored my post and concentrated instead on some lines in a FOOTNOTE! Is that “polite”? Not really. It is what I expect from an idiot troll with no substantive argument.

      But still I responded. I postulated a viable theory about the types of leaks and who had the capabilities, motivation, and highest probability for doing it. You postulated – well absolutely nothing apart from whining about the CIA.

      Next you will be trying to say that the hacking and selective leaking never existed or postulating ‘that the CIA dun it’ (with multiple explanation marks).

      FFS: I’ve been running this site for close to a decade and I have had decades of experience on the net. Do you really think that I can’t recognise idiotic net tactics born several decades ago?

      These days when I see people using that on my posts, I just tend to abbreviate the conversation to what I think is the probable endpoint and let the fool on the other side prove that they are not. It saves me time.

      BTW: One more check and I boot you off my post.

      • Conal 4.1.1

        I read your post and actually quite enjoyed it. Perhaps I should have said so to mollify you before quibbling about the detail in the footnote. Instead I made the mistake of thinking you’d be open to a civil discussion of anything in the post.

        That footnote, in which you said Assange was “deluded” was a puzzle to me; it was obviously a throw-away line, but I was curious about what you meant by it, as it seemed to me (if I’d understood what the “delusion” referred to), to be mistaken, and I expanded on the reasons why I thought so.

        In particular, one of the key points I made was to critique the fallacy of the excluded middle, in which Russian hacking is invalidly taken as proof that WikiLeak’s own source could not very well have been someone else; an internal leaker. Yet in your rant you expounded that very fallacy straight back at me, as if my point had gone right over your head.

        In response to my perfectly civil comment, your head exploded and you abused me shamelessly, calling me a fuckwit, a nut, an idiot, a monkey, and an illiterate. Most shockingly you accused me of lacking attention to detail. This in comments marred by a number of grammatical errors.

        Why even leave comments enabled if you can’t rise to the level of a friendly and civil discussion? If a commenter were to behave as you did they’d be blocked instantly. “Boot” me if you will. I’m not going to dignify your boorishness by responding further.

    • lprent 4.2

      And incidentally I responded to your only argumentative point related to the post.

      Why did I think that Assange was deluded about wikileaks source for the DNC leaks.

  5. saveNZ 5

    On a different note there, what about in the age of mass surveillance and corporate MSM, leaks seem to be the only way to bring down dishonest polticians…

    “The Internet and alternative media of reputable truth-telling websites are taking over. Leaks are the new political reality. Over time this will be the cure against dishonest politicians.”

    Interesting from Dotcom

    https://www.spinbin.co.nz/kim-dotcom-exclusive-2tb-leaks-to-come/

    • esoteric pineapples 5.1

      I read that the other day. I thought it was interesting but rather than “truth telling websites taking over”, I think people are quickly becoming exhausted with all the truth telling websites who disagree with each other and won’t be voting at the next election based on whatever scandals have been exposed. I think to win, Labour, with the Greens need to be presenting in simplified terms big solutions to pressing problems like housing. I also feel that Kim Dotcom still thinking Trump might drain the swamp is being very optimistic. Trump has been announcing his nominations for some time now (the post is five days old) and none of his picks make pleasant reading. However, there is no doubt that Kim Dotcom was done over and deserves justice. I just don’t think “exposing the government” is the answer to Labour and the Greens winning the next election.

    • Conal 5.2

      This is related to Assange’s line, too: that leaks and the threat of leaks are a kind of curb on dishonest politicians, but in Assange’s case he (rather more realistically I believe) says it will only stop incompetent dishonest politicians. It will always remain possible for politicians to conspire against the people, so long as they greatly improve their operational security. Assange has described it as a kind of “tax” on political conspiracy: not a cure, but an additional obstacle.

      In the case of the DNC “hack” (or “phishing” really) that’s been reported in the media, from what I’ve read the DNC’s own IT security practices let them down badly. The reports I’ve read say that Podesta asked their security guy about the phishing email, and was told that it was “legitimate”, and that he should change his password immediately. It probably was a good idea to change his password (I’ve read that his email was “p@ssword” — if that’s true it’s abysmal operational security), but not by clicking on the “change password” link in the phishing email! Which is apparently what he did.

      Incidentally, this provides a simple explanation for how the DNC’s security might have been breached but the RNC’s might not have (there’s some dispute as to whether they were hacked or not); it may have been more about the DNC’s own vulnerability to social engineering. Again, as I stated to lprent, above, the success of a “hack” (of any sort, including “phishing” more broadly) against any party does not detract from the possibility that the data was also leaked by an insider (a whistle-blower). There were certainly many people in the Democratic Party who had a great deal of motivation to leak, based on some kind of resentment over the misdemeanours of Hillary’s faction (such as the dirty tricks against Sanders, for instance).

  6. Steve 6

    You’ve hit upon a key point – the leaks were only one way so the receiver and distributor of the leaks probably had a political motive and likely sat on information obtained about the other side.

    Exactly like Dirty Politics.

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    In a few weeks, New Zealanders will make a choice whether we implement into law the End of Life Choice Act 2019.  My scientific expertise includes developing and validating methods to predict future events of ill people including death. There is one section of the Act that concerns me deeply. Section ...
    SciBlogsBy John Pickering
    3 days ago
  • Democracy Under Threat
    My wife and I are at an age when we have begun to think (and worry) about the kind of world we will leave behind for our children and, particularly, our grandchildren. We have experienced during our own lives, like others of our generation, our fair share of hard times ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Liam Hehir: Why it’s important to be open to relationships with people who vote differently
      There are few things written more deeply on the human heart than religion. Differences between us on the purpose and ultimate destiny of human existence have sometimes inspired great intolerance and even wars. But what would we make today of a Catholic who refused to countenance a meaningful relationship ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #39
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... The Warming Climates of the Arctic and the Tropics Squeeze the Mid-latitudes, Where Most People Live Melting Arctic ice sends ...
    4 days ago
  • Where in the world will the next epidemic start?
    Naomi Forrester-Soto, Keele University Viruses jumping from animals to humans have been the starting point of numerous outbreaks, from Ebola to Zika. Given the similarity of SARS-CoV-2 to coronaviruses found in bats, this probably marked the beginning of COVID-19 too. We know that viruses have passed from animals to humans ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Fiscal Maths with Paul “Goldie” Goldsmith
    Mr Thinks has asked me to come onto the blog today to outline a few concepts in fiscal mathematics. ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 20, 2020 through Sat, Sep 26, 2020 Editor's Choice Climate Disruption Is Now Locked In. The Next Moves Will Be Crucial A crack on the Amery Ice Shelf in ...
    5 days ago
  • National behind the times
    When Todd Muller resigned as leader of the National Party and allowed for Judith Collins to assume command, you could tell the blue “team” was desperate and in search of past glories. After all, Crusher is towards the end of her political career and from a bygone era where dirty ...
    5 days ago
  • Coronavirus: the road to vaccine roll-out is always bumpy, as 20th-century pandemics show
    Samantha Vanderslott, University of Oxford If you have been following the media coverage of the new vaccines in development for COVID-19, it will be clear that the stakes are high. Very few vaccine trials in history have attracted so much attention, perhaps since polio in the mid-20th century. A now ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • PREFU: The State of Government Accounts
    The Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update’ (PREFU) tells us something about the future of the Public Sector but it requires careful analysis to assess how it is going. The 2020 PREFU is the most important economic statement during any election campaign. Unfortunately the commentariat tends to treat it briefly ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Predatory delay
    Farmers are whining again about being expected to clean up their act: Canterbury farmers want politicians to stop painting them as climate change villains, listen to their needs and allow them more time to boost environmental standards. [...] “The targets are necessary for the environment, but do we ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to nowhere sends the wrong message in climate crisis
    Qantas Airlines’ 7-hour “flight to nowhere”, that sold out in 10 minutes with prices from A$787 to A$3787, seemed like a sick joke to climate advocates. Apart from the waste of fuel and the pointless emissions, passengers would be able to see first-hand, from a plane just like those that ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: The cannabis referendum – a doctor’s perspective
    Cannabis is part of our culture: 80% of adults have tried it sometime. Intuition tells us that legalising cannabis will increase use – science suggests that is not likely. Our Dunedin and Christchurch studies show that cannabis use peaks in our 20s. Older people are less frequent users whether it ...
    6 days ago
  • First steps: Jerry DeSilva on the evolution of bipedalism
    Yesterday morning I got up (at the rather early and unaccustomed hour of 3.30am) to listen to a webinar by paleoanthropologist Dr Jeremy DeSilva¹. Titled “First Steps”, his presentation was about the origins of bipedalism in the human lineage. It was a fascinating session & I thought I’d turn my ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    6 days ago
  • True Believers In A False God.
    Down The Rabbit Hole: "Social psychologists have found that when fearful people contemplate potential misfortunes, they tend to feel helpless and pessimistic, but when angry people contemplate the same, they feel a sense of optimism and control. And one simple way to transmute fear into anger is to perceive an evil ...
    6 days ago
  • Majority Rule Requires Majorities That Are Real.
    Fifty Percent Plus One: New Zealand’s genuine-majority-delivering two-party system endured for five elections only (1938, 1943, 1946, 1949, 1951) a period of just 16 years. Very few New Zealanders alive today can boast of participating in an election which delivered a true majority to either Labour or National. Someone who ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour super exploitation
    This is the second in the lecture series by Andy Higginbottom on superexploitation. Here he looks at Marini’s theory of labour super-exploitation and Capital ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Small asteroid to make near-miss of Earth in NZ skies tonight
    Sorry for the late notice on this one, but I only just heard myself, in common with most of the human race. A small asteroid, somewhere between the size of a truck and the size of a house in dimensions, will hurtle past the Earth tonight, dipping closer to ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • This is not what accountability looks like
    When someone commits trespass, assault with a weapon, and kidnapping, you'd expect them to be prosecuted, right? But apparently the rules are different if you wear a blue uniform: A police investigation has found officers in Northland trespassed on a man's property, then unlawfully pepper sprayed him and arrested ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Cycling: head injuries ignored because of entrenched macho culture
    Howard Hurst, University of Central Lancashire and Jack Hardwicke, University of Winchester Competitive road cycling is a demanding and unique sport. One where crashing is inevitable – especially at the professional level. While the risk of head injury is relatively low in cycling – approximately 5-13% – compared to contact ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The coming US shitshow
    Today President Trump once again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the US election. Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a long article on exactly what that means, from voter suppression by armed thugs in the name of "ballot security", to refusing to allow the vote ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A moral void
    That's the only way to describe the SIS, who - like their British counterparts - decided to look the other way on child abuse: The SIS knew a young woman was being sexually abused by her father but failed to lodge a complaint with the police, effectively allowing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will Goldsmith resign?
    The National Party’s campaign has gone from bad to worse with a further two large miscalculations being uncovered in their alternative fiscal plan. Firstly, National’s economic spokesperson and list MP, Paul Goldsmith, used May's Budget figures instead of last week's PREFU numbers, and came up with a whopping $4.3 billion ...
    1 week ago
  • The Adventures of Annalax: Part IX
    The initial session was a struggle. Annalax and Magni tried sorting out the details with the Isaac twins (the people pursuing the mountain trip). Annalax happened to mention his devotion to Lolth… whom the Isaacs, being ...
    1 week ago
  • This is bullshit
    On March 13, three plainclothes police officers kicked in Breonna Taylor's door under a no-knock warrant targeting another person. When a person inside reasonably assumed they were home invaders and (this being America) started shooting, they shot up the place and everyone around them - killing Taylor. Today, one of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The case for tax (more of it, much more)
    Laura O’Connell Rapira | Contributing writer, the spinoff, 21 Sept, 2020. Let’s put tax at the core of this election. Sharing wealth is how we share care and responsibility for this land and all of the people in it, writes Laura O’Connell Rapira It’s election season in the middle of ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Arctic sea ice is being increasingly melted from below by warming Atlantic water
    Tom Rippeth, Bangor University Arctic sea ice today (white) is covering a much smaller area than in 1980-2010 (orange line). National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CC BY-SA Each September, scientists like me look out for the point when the Arctic’s meagre summer fizzles out and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The long-term health burden of COVID-19: further justification for NZ’s elimination strategy
    Prof John D. Potter* This blog briefly surveys the emerging scientific evidence on the longer-term burden of symptoms and disease in survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these symptoms point to damage in the brain and heart. These long-term harms add to the wide range of other reasons for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Going High, Going Low: An Assessment Of The First Leaders’ Debate.
    Uncrushed: Jacinda Ardern knew exactly what was expected of her in the first Leaders' Debate. Labour’s dominant position, three weeks out from the general election, is constructed out of the admiration and gratitude of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who, more often than not, vote National.  Nothing she said ...
    1 week ago
  • The smokefree policies of political parties: Do they care about people who smoke?
    George Thomson*, Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards In this time of Covid-19, helping people who smoke to quit their addiction has an even greater importance. Smokers are more vulnerable to many harmful health effects, including severe effects from the virus. Policies that support people who smoke to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • The Fog Of Economic Policy Is Starting To Clear…
    Bryan Bruce, https://www.facebook.com/www.redsky.tv, 19 September 2020 National’s economic policy of temporary tax cuts yesterday proved, if proof be needed, that they are unapologetic neoliberals. While their claim that with more money in their pockets people will spend more might sound attractive, the reality is that tax cuts always benefit the ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #38, 2020
    Highlighted article: Carbon pricing and planetary boundaries  Engström et al take what might be called a systems approach to evaluating carbon pricing, taking into a account various economic sectors affected by and affecting paying for emissions. The conclusions are overall a rare pleasant surprise— a feature predicated on cooperation.  Abstract: ...
    1 week ago
  • Humans ignite almost every wildfire that threatens homes
    Nathan Mietkiewicz, National Ecological Observatory Network and Jennifer Balch, University of Colorado Boulder CC BY-ND Summer and fall are wildfire season across the western U.S. In recent years, wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes, forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate and exposed tens of millions to harmful ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: China steps up
    China has increased its climate change ambition, and set a target to be carbon-neutral by 2060: China will reach carbon neutrality before 2060 and ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak in the next decade, Xi Jinping has told the UN general assembly. “China will scale up its intended nationally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Humans have dealt with plenty of climate variability
    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 climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much climate variability have humans dealt with since we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous perspectives on unrestricted access to genomic data
    By Genomics Aotearoa researcher Maui Hudson, University of Waikato It is vital that genomics research respects genomic data and genetic heritage from indigenous communities. Genomics research is a rapidly growing field of study, and there is a strong push to make the huge amount of data being produced open ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Terrible luck: lockdowns on learning and youth job prospects
    What is bad luck? Bad luck is spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt right before an important meeting. When the person in front of you gets the last seat on the bus, that’s bad luck. Bad luck is when it’s sunny outside, so you leave the house without a coat, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Ian Powell: Does private healthcare threaten public healthcare in New Zealand?
    Is the private health system impacting negatively on the public health system? Health commentator Ian Powell evaluates a recent NZ Herald article by Natalie Akoorie (“Public v private healthcare: Moonlighting, skimming, duplication – should NZ do better”), and looks at how the dual system works, and concludes that the answer ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • A rabbit-hole election debate: So do you want more avocado orchards?
    We live in strange and unusual times. It’s been a century since we’ve endured a global pandemic like this, more than half a century since we’ve had economic woes like this. So maybe we got an opening election debate for the times - because that was a strange and unusual ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • LIVE: Jacinda Ardern vs. Judith Collins, First Debate
    Tonight, The Civilian will be live-blogging the first of too many debates between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Judith Collins, and also the last fifteen minutes of the news. Be sure to tune in from 6:45pm for regular updates, which can be accessed by refreshing this page ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Hundreds of Aucklanders arrested after illegal mass gathering on Harbour Bridge
    An enormous drive-in party, shown here, was held this morning on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, where police were forced to intervene. Hundreds of Aucklanders were arrested this morning on public health grounds, after an apparent illegal mass gathering on the city’s Harbour Bridge. Police say hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in their ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The Looming Fight.
    Social Distancing Be Damned - It's Jacinda! Shortly after ascending to Labour’s leadership, Jacinda described herself as a “pragmatic idealist”. It was an inspired oxymoron – packing into just two words the essence of the social-democrat’s dilemma. It was good to know that she knew what lay ahead of her. ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
    Back in 2017, the UK announced that it would ban the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Its a basic climate change measure, aimed at reducing emissions by shifting the vehicle fleet to cleaner technologies. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, they're planning to bring it forward ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Australian courts have had enough of refugee detention
    For the past decade, Australia has had a racist, anti-refugee policy. Those claiming refugee status are imprisoned without trial and left to rot in the hope they would "voluntarily" return to be tortured and murdered. When the courts have granted them visas, the government has immediately revoked them on racial ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Friction and the Anti-lock Braking System
    Yesterday afternoon I had to call on my car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). For reasons best known to its driver, a car pulled out of a side road right in front of me while I was driving home after work, and I needed to stop in a hurry. I rather ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • The Inside Word: New Zealand Quarantine
    There are a fair few misconceptions about conditions within New Zealand’s Quarantine Hotels. Madeline Grant’s misplaced accusations being one prominent example, though she is not alone. Today, I thought I’d share the inside word, so to speak. A friend of mine has recently returned to New Zealand from overseas, and ...
    1 week ago

  • 100 reasons to vote Labour
    Soon, people across New Zealand will get to decide who they want to see leading our country through the next three years.  We’ve always believed that putting people and our shared futures at the heart of everything we do is the only way to run a Government, and we want ...
    2 hours ago
  • Labour’s fiscal plan: responsible, balanced and fully costed
    We’ve released our fiscal plan for next term, and it shows how we’ll continue to manage the Government books responsibly if re-elected on October 17th.  ...
    3 hours ago
  • Jacinda Ardern takes out Newshub debate
    Jacinda Ardern nailed it in this week’s Newshub debate, holding Judith Collins to account on National’s shambolic economic plan and outlining our plan to keep New Zealand moving. ...
    3 hours ago
  • Greens announce plan to close digital divide and support high-tech industries
    The Green Party has today outlined plans to address the digital divide and support New Zealand’s high-tech sectors. ...
    4 hours ago
  • Modern hospitals, quality care: Labour’s record on health
    We believe that when New Zealanders need healthcare, they deserve to have it delivered in a safe and healthy environment. Patients and staff shouldn’t have to worry about mould or rot in hospital walls – but that was the reality when Labour came into Government in 2017. We inherited a ...
    1 day ago
  • Why we support increasing the minimum wage
    Labour has a proud history of standing for fairness at work, supporting the development of high-quality, high wage jobs and for improving the quality of life for New Zealand workers. ...
    1 day ago
  • Working with farmers for a better future
    Farmers play a key role in our economy and in our communities, and will be at the forefront of our COVID recovery. Labour has worked in partnership with Kiwi farmers over the past three years and together we’ve tackled Mycoplasma bovis, worked through droughts and flooding, started cleaning up our ...
    1 day ago
  • Is National really better than Labour with the economy? Yeah, nah.
    National tells New Zealanders to trust them with the economy, but recent data shows they’re not the strong economic managers they like to claim. Labour has a strong track record of keeping debt under control. We’ve worked hard over the past three years to pay down the debt we inherited ...
    1 day ago
  • Minimum wage increases vs. tax cuts – what really boosts the economy?
    This election, Labour and National have set out very different proposals for growing our economy and supporting New Zealanders through our COVID recovery. But when it comes to real results, the experts are clear – only our plan will keep New Zealand moving. ...
    1 day ago
  • Do Kiwis trust Labour more than National on the economy? Three polls say yes.
    As our economic rebuild gets underway, New Zealand needs a strong, responsible government to lead our recovery. National bills itself as the Party with economic credibility, but that’s not what the numbers show or what voters believe. In the past five months, three polls have consistently shown that more New ...
    1 day ago
  • Better healthcare for Kiwis
    From mental health support in every primary and intermediate school to more publicly-funded medicines, Labour’s plan for health will ensure New Zealanders can get quality care. ...
    2 days ago
  • Green Party responds to NZ First Foundation SFO charges
    Green Party spokesperson on Electoral Issues Golriz Ghahraman said: “We’re glad to see the SFO has laid charges before the election, so voters have more clarity on what is going on before they cast a vote. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold transport plan for Auckland to tackle climate change and congestion
    The Green Party has today outlined a major transport plan for Auckland including new investments in light rail, busways, an expansion of regional rail services, and quick improvements to buses. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold transport plan for Wellington to tackle climate change and congestion
    The Green Party has today outlined a major transport plan for Wellington including investments in light rail, an expansion of regional passenger rail, and fast-tracking improvements to buses. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold transport plan for Christchurch to tackle climate change and congestion
    The Green Party has today outlined a major transport plan for Christchurch including new investments in commuter rail, a high frequency bus service to the airport, and cycleways. ...
    2 days ago
  • Greens announce bold plan to ensure NZ transport tackles climate change
    The Green Party will transform how New Zealanders get around to address the climate crisis, with a comprehensive climate-focused transport package.  ...
    2 days ago
  • Reports of great whites finned alive cement case for cameras on boats
    Claims of illegal fishing and live finning of great whites in New Zealand waters show once again that cameras on fishing boats are long overdue, and must be urgently rolled out. ...
    3 days ago
  • We must investigate COVID-19 retraining support that skews towards men: Greens
    The Green Party is calling for a review into the gender split of training programmes offered by government to help New Zealanders retrain following COVID-19 job losses. ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour’s plan for plastic and waste
    As part of our plan to build back better, we’re taking action on waste and improving recycling to protect our environment, create jobs and future proof our economy. ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour’s plan for plastic and waste
    As part of our plan to build back better, we’re taking action on waste and improving recycling to protect our environment, create jobs and future proof our economy. ...
    4 days ago
  • Week that was: Three weeks to go!
    Today marks three weeks until the election, and the campaign is ramping up. This week, we’ve continued to focus on our economic recovery, announcing our plan to reduce costs for farmers and growers. We also set out our commitment to continuing our partnership with Māori as we rebuild together. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Māori Manifesto: Working together in partnership
    Together, Māori and Labour have walked a new path in our first term of Government. Based on the articles of the Treaty and the promise of equality, this path has been one of partnership and collaboration. Our Māori Manifesto builds on the work we’ve undertaken with Māori during our first ...
    5 days ago
  • Healthy, affordable homes a Green Party priority for Wellington
    The Green Party would push to ensure everyone in Wellington has a warm, safe and affordable place to live as part of the next Government. ...
    6 days ago
  • Environment and climate will be decimated by National’s dangerous agriculture policy
    The Green Party is slamming National’s agriculture policy as a huge step backwards which puts future generations at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Reducing costs for Kiwi farmers
    New Zealand’s farmers and growers play a key role in our economy and in our communities. Labour has set out a clear vision to transition to a carbon-neutral economy and today we committed to supporting our farmers and growers to achieve this goal. ...
    1 week ago
  • Jacinda Ardern sets out Labour’s plan in first TV debate
    Tonight was the first Leaders’ Debate, broadcast live on TVNZ 1. It was the first time New Zealanders have seen Jacinda Ardern side-by-side Opposition Leader Judith Collins this campaign. ...
    1 week ago
  • Helping Kiwis into homes
    Everyone deserves a warm, dry place to live. As part of our plan for housing, Labour’s making sure more New Zealanders have a healthy place to live, while tackling long-term issues like homelessness and housing affordability. Here’s how we’re helping Kiwis into homes. ...
    1 week ago
  • Our plan to keep New Zealand moving
    Last updated 30 July 2020. The whole world is battling with COVID-19, and no country is immune. In New Zealand, our focus is getting the latest resurgence under control and making sure we put in place immediate financial supports to cushion the economic blow. As before, the best economic response is ...
    1 week ago
  • Our Achievements
    Led by Jacinda Ardern, our strong, stable government has delivered results and put people first every step of the way. In health, housing, education and more, we've got a strong track record of delivering for New Zealanders. Now, we’re continuing to put people first with our decisive response to COVID-19. ...
    1 week ago
  • Why should I vote for Labour?
    Labour has a strong track record of making progress on the big issues facing our country. Now, as we recover and rebuild from COVID-19, we’re rolling out our plan to grow our economy, support businesses and communities, and keep New Zealand moving. If you’re still undecided ahead of this year’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan to create jobs
    Creating jobs is a key part of our plan to grow the economy, support communities and seize the opportunities created by our world-leading COVID response. We’ve already started rolling out initiatives that are creating thousands of jobs right around the country, and we’ll keep up this momentum as we continue ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan to tackle unemployment
    New Zealand is not immune to the global economic impacts of COVID-19, but our strong health response means we’re now in a better position than many other countries. We’re taking advantage of this headstart by rolling out our plan to protect jobs, create new ones and grow our economy – ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for reducing child poverty
    Child poverty is a complex issue that won’t be fixed overnight, but so far under Labour’s leadership seven out of nine child poverty indicators have already started to improve. Under National’s nine years of neglect, seven out of nine indicators got worse. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s health response to COVID-19
    We went hard and early in our health response to COVID-19 – and it worked. After a short period of lockdown, we were able to safely ease restrictions and open up our economy much quicker than many other countries. We had a plan in place to combat a resurgence, which ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for managing our borders
    As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, robust border controls are essential to protect New Zealanders and keep our economy moving. Labour will continue to carefully manage our borders to keep New Zealanders safe, while ensuring businesses can access the skilled workers they need for our recovery. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s infrastructure investment
    One of the key ways we’re keeping New Zealand moving through our COVID-19 response is by investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects. No country is immune to the economic impact of COVID-19, but with targeted infrastructure projects throughout New Zealand, we are creating new jobs and ensuring our communities have the ...
    1 week ago
  • Who should I vote for?
    It’s now less than one month until election day. If you still haven’t decided who you’re voting for, check out our handy guide below to help you make up your mind! ...
    1 week ago
  • A vote for National is a vote for putting on the brakes
    Thinking about voting National in this year’s election? Here are five reasons you might like to reconsider ahead of 17 October. ...
    1 week ago
  • How Labour’s team is leading New Zealand
    During our time in Government, the Labour team has worked hard to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders while making progress on the long-term challenges facing our country. There’s still more to do, but our track record shows that our team is leading New Zealand in the right direction. Read ...
    1 week ago
  • What’s the difference between National and Labour?
    Still weighing up who to vote for in this year’s election? Here are five key differences between National and Labour to help you make your decision. ...
    1 week ago

  • Conservation Minister plants two millionth tree in Raglan restoration
    A long-term conservation project led by the Whaingaroa Harbour Care group in the western Waikato reaches a significant milestone this week, with the planting of the two millionth tree by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Planting the two millionth tree crowns 25 years of commitment and partnership involving Whaingaroa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Residential building sector growing stronger
    Figures released by Statistics New Zealand today show healthy growth in residential building consents in an environment of Government support for the sector during COVID-19, says Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods. Statistics New Zealand reported today that a record 10,063 townhouses, flats, and units were consented in the August 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • PGF helps Bay of Plenty youth find jobs
    Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support for a pathways to work hub in Tauranga will help address high youth unemployment in the Bay of Plenty by connecting young people with training and meaningful employment opportunities, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau has announced. “Priority One Western Bay of Plenty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government confirms new acute mental health facility for Lakes DHB
    A new acute inpatient mental health facility at Rotorua Hospital will provide more patient-centred and culturally appropriate care to better support recovery, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says. “Improving mental health and addiction services remains one of the biggest long-term challenges facing New Zealand,” says Chris Hipkins. “Lakes DHB’s existing Whare ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Community Languages Fund to increase support for Pacific community language projects
    Round two of the Community Languages Fund (CLF) will provide even more support for Pacific grassroots community and family language projects with the introduction of a second funding tier of $10,000, in addition to the $2,500 tier, says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  During the first round of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government puts teacher wellbeing at the centre
    The Government is committing nearly $9 million to ensure educators in early learning services and schools get the wellbeing support they need. Education Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement, which includes providing frontline counselling and advice services for educators, during his address at the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) annual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Pasifika churches gain from PGF funding
    Pasifika churches around the country will receive a total of nearly $10 million in government funding for renovations and improvements which will improve facilities for the communities they serve and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio have announced. The funding will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Job numbers up in August
    New data from Stats NZ today shows a rise of more than 9,000 filled jobs from July – driven mostly by the education and training sector, Grant Robertson says. Filled jobs were up 9,147 to 2.2 million in August 2020 compared with July – with 7,409 of those in education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Māori development receives funding
    Māori development projects across the country will receive a total of $18.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund that will create infrastructure and permanent jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “These projects will support economic development in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Manawatū-Whanganui, Waikato and Southland to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Hand-up for owners of earthquake-prone units
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    3 days ago
  • PGF backing successful Māori enterprise
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    4 days ago
  • Hokitika Landmark earmarked for $22m restoration
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    5 days ago
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    6 days ago
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  • International sport back up and running in New Zealand
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    7 days ago
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  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
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  • Government backing Māori landowners
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    2 weeks ago
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    2 weeks ago
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