GCSB, protesting and the internetz.

I realise that many readers of this blog will think that I am merely an artsy, stroppy feminist with too many opinions traversing policy areas across the spectrum. This is a deliberate strategy that I have undertaken for this stream of publication.



So to ‘break the fourth wall’, I am now going to give you a little of my IRL specifics, in order that what I say about the GCSB Bill now before the House in New Zealand, has a little more validity.



I have been around the IT industry in our country since my early university days. Yep, I failed Comp 101, because it bored me rigid, rather than not understanding how to write binary code. I didn’t want to end up working with those kinda people, doing that kinda work. My sister is of a different personality type, and she loved it, and has had a twenty-five-year career (and counting) in IT, as has my ex-husband. It was during my marriage that I learned most of what I know about the internet, due to contracts my then-husband was working on for his employer, a major MNC which operates in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. 



Don’t kid yourselves that there is anything ‘private’ about what you do on the net.


Don’t buy into the idea that you are ‘a consumer’, the internet is ‘a product’, nor that it is there to entertain you.



What we now call the internet began as Arpanet and DArpanet, projects of the USA Department of Defense, in collaboration with research projects at hand-picked Universities in the USA. It was originally an IT research program to create a secure way of transmitting and collecting data for the DOD. These days, we’d call that an intranet, similar to the kind of WAN that operates inside most corporations for administrative purposes.



The Bill going through our Parliament at the moment is a stage of DOD ‘taking back’ the internet from public use. Surveillance and transmission of surveilled data was always the primary purpose of the net; the Patriot Act in 2001, followed by Terrorism Suppression legislation in most global jurisdictions, was a first attempt to ‘plug the holes’. Creating crimes of knowledge, of dissemination of information, was the beginning of a global campaign by DOD to regain domination of the medium of internet traffic.

It is obvious in the trial of Bradley Manning, the attempts to smear and discredit Julian Assange of Wikileaks, the hunting down of Edward Snowden (still on-going), that the DOD is very serious about extending its’ capacities to control activities outside the borders of the USA.


This is a breach of the sovereignty of every other nation on earth, and most people are just going to sit by and watch as it happens, not making the connections to totalitarian control of their own lives.

So, on these grounds, I urge every thinking citizen of Aotearoa/New Zealand to join in the protests against the GCSB Bill that is before the House. There is a nationwide protest organised for Saturday 27th July 2013, all events beginning at 2pm.
Because this is only the thin end of a wedge that will see a totalitarian surveillance society established in every nation in the world, if we, the people, do not stop it. It’s too late to make submissions, but this is something anyone can do.
Events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier are listed on FB and there is also a general group for discussion. (outlinks)

Our MP’s have spoken out against this Bill – here on frogblog and here and here on the main Greens website.

If you want to access the submissions that went to the Select Committee hearings, they can be found here (pdf to download).

If you want to view the submissions made during the hearings, video has been uploaded to You-tube. (outlinks)
Submitters Thomas Beagle, from Tech Liberty, Susan Chalmers and Jordan Carter from Internet NZ, Micheal Koziarski, Vikram Kumar, Simon Terry, all made submissions as working professionals contracting in the IT industry.
Keith Locke and Kate Dewes and Robert Green (nuclear disarmament activists) made submissions on the political aspects of the Bill.

Labour’s “Man-ban”

Well, when I first heard about this, I thought it was quaint – after all, we’ve been gender-balancing our Green MP’s in the party lists forever. Ok, so Labour are catching up with us in a slow and unwieldy way, but it’s no real biggie.

I went off to do some essential, offline tasks.
Then I came back to the internet after dinner.

Oh dear, the trolls and the journalists have joined hands and danced around the fairy circle together.

Comments on posts on Facebook have veered from curious to bewildered, amongst the left, and gone straight to blindingly misogynist on the right.

Apparently, Whaleoil started it. No, I don’t link to his festering cesspit of a blog, you can google that one for yourselves if you want to go there.
Stuff had a go at finding a woman to throw the argument sideways.

Andrew Geddis at Pundit was more reasoned, and gave a clear outline of why so many (even Labour supporters) are concerned about both the announcement, and the timing (right when Key is on the ropes with GCSB hearings).

Chris Trotter has done an ‘insider’s view’ post at the Daily Blog, with a stirring look back at the formation of NewLabour Party in 1989. Recollections of Jim Anderton’s breakaway from ‘old’ Labour had me reaching for the chocolate again.
(yep, I’m playing the feminist version of ‘scull for clichés’ by chewing a lump of chocolate each time I see a glaring piece of male appropriation of the debate. Gonna be a long night if I keep reading around, it seems …)

Even The Civilian has had a go. Excuse me while I roflmao.

No-one seems to have made much about the strategic problem of how you do this when list candidates get juggled around by the electorate seat results, and Labour seem to have forgotten just how many female MP’s they have exactly … which makes for some gruelling reading as they back-step & correct themselves in clear view of the journo’s etc firing off hits at them.
[excuse me while I just scoff another piece of chocolate … 🙂 ]

I’ll be mightily interested to see how this story plays over the weekend, and slightly curious to see which newsrooms scrabble together a feature in the weekend papers, and with what angle.
Do play along at home, and throw article links into the comments here on g.blog.

Update:
Well, the pollie journo’s at Granny Herald seem to have a bob each way going this weekend. Fran O’Sullivan comes out with a strong piece in support of gender balance in Parlie, as she also supports workplace gender balance. On the ‘noes’, it’s Adam Bennett, reporting a back-peddle from Shearer and some prize misogyny from Shane Jones and Damian O’Connor (why am I not surprised?).

Return to Back Benches

So, here’s another post about Back Benches!
[yes, I’m pasting info directly from Prime’s PR – but why change perfectly good material when you don’t have to?]

This week’s Back Benches panel in Wellington is Labour MP Phil Goff, National MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, and Green Party MP Kevin Hague.

THIS WEEK ON PRIME TV’s “BACK BENCHES”: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

WHO SHOULD GET THE PILLS?: Pharmac—the Government’s drug-buying agency wants your input on their funding policies? Who should be getting the pills? Where should our priorities lie? Should they put more money extending the lives of the elderly? Or should they prioritise medicines that would improve the lives of younger people? What about the poor—are they more deserving of help than rich people? Should the future earning potential of children be considered? Focusing on preventable diseases vs. genetic?

SPY BILL—IS IT SAFETY vs. PRIVACY?: The Law Society has made their opinion over the GCSB law changes proposals known. They hate it. They say the changes would mean the GCSB would go from a foreign intelligence agency to a domestic one. So, would the new powers be too broad? Why would New Zealanders need to watched? In order to gain safety—is a loss of privacy the price to pay?

There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 26th of June at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!
http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Update:
I’ve missed my weekly fix of fun at the Back Bencher pub in Molesworth St, but during a flying visit, managed to squeeze in an evening with old mates.
The renovated pub layout is rather swish, I do approve of the changes – it’s been a bit hard to see how it all fitted together from the Prime footage I’ve watched. Up close, there was a lot to enjoy, not the least of which was the new puppets, which I hadn’t seen for myself before.
This weeks episode was full of rather good quotes – if you didn’t manage to watch it on Prime, catch it on i-Sky’s on-demand section, Prime shows are free-2-watch for a fortnight after transmission.

IPCA report on ‘Operation 8’

Just finished reading IPCA report on Operation 8, over a few cups of tea.
Just in case you don’t fancy reading the whole 88 pages of self-justification by Police National HQ, here’s some edited highlights:

“Findings in relation to Property searches
387. Police actions led occupants at five properties to have reasonable cause to believe that they were being detained while the search was conducted. The detention of occupants at these properties was contrary to law, unjustified, and unreasonable.” => illegal actions by Police Officers.

“390. Police had no legal basis or justification for personally searching occupants. These searches were contrary to law, unjustified, and unreasonable” => illegal actions on the part of Police Officers.

Now is the time for some actual punitive action to be taken by the Police Commissioner.
The Anti-Terror Unit, based in South Auckland, is composed of Police Officers who were recruited from overseas, from countries and forces that had ‘experience’ with anti-terror policing – namely, London Metropolitain Police who had been trained during the period of IRA bombings in the UK, and Afrikaaners from South Africa, who were trained during the ANC’s activities to gain political power in South Africa.
None of these staff came to Aotearoa/New Zealand without a complete set of personal biases, and they do not appear to be re-trained to cultural sensitivity around rights for all citizens in our country. Out of ten positions in the Anti-terror Unit, only one is held by a NZ-born and trained officer – Aaron Pascoe. The guy who authored the very flawed “Pascoe Affadavit” which was used to obtain search warrants on the 10th October, 2007.

Assistant Police Commissioner Jon White, in charge of the ATU, is one of the Afrikaaners. I strongly suggest that if the IPCA is serious about solving the ‘problems’ identified in the policing of the Ruātoki valley in 2007, then getting rid of the racist police officers in the ATU might be a very good place to start.
Then they might consider removing some of the rest of the Afrikaaner officers who have been recruited in to the NZ Police forces over the past ten years, who are a cohort of racists scattered through our towns and cities, to the detriment of unbiased, legal policing of crime.
If they don’t want to go to South Africa, get the Netherlands to take them back.

Note:
The report is available to download and read in full here.

Update:
Good post from Maui Street went up same day, but I’ve been slack checking around the web.

Save TV7, come to Back Benches and even a march on Parlie :-)

Haven’t updated y’all on the progress of Back Benches for a week or two, so here goes. COME ALONG TO SEE IT FILMED, IT RUNS OUT SOON!

Right, now I’ve got that off my chest, some cut’n’paste goodness and linky-love for you to play clicky with:
As you may have heard, the Back Bencher was damaged in a kitchen fire, so there’s been a lot of woe and dismay about the final three shows.
Last week’s episode was filmed in the Shepherd’s Arms in Tinakori Rd, just uphill & around the corner as it were, from BB. Notorious to a certain generation of VUW law students as the Western Park tavern, it’s now less of a booze barn and more of a heritage pub with a ‘southern’ twist. Once more, my trusty companions and I eschewed the brews for coffee and soft drinks, all the better to pay attention.
The acoustics are not great, as half the bar is incapable of seeing or hearing the set, thus talk amongst themselves. We had fun anyway, and Damian and Wallace soldiered on, attempting to get good soundbites from Nat MP Paul Goldsmith, Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove, our own lovely Julie-Anne Genter, and NZ First’s inimitable and intractable Richard Prosser.

This week, it’s the turn of Green MP Kevin Hague, Labour MP David Parker, New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin and National MP Louise Upston, with topics on ACC, Asset Sales, and Gareth Morgan’s opinions. TVNZ blurb here. Once again, at the Shepherd’s Arms Tavern in Tinakori Rd, Thorndon, get in by 6pm if you want food, or 8pm if you just want a spot to stand. Filming starts at 9.05pm, live broadcast with help from the big techy truck parked outside.
Closest thing you can get to being an unpaid extra on a film set … no, wait, it is actually being an unpaid extra on a film set. Damn, shoulda checked that with the union!

Then for even more excitement, join the Save TV7 crew for a march through Wellington on Thursday 28th June, meet at Civic Square 12 noon and march to Parliament. More at their website www.savetvnz7.co.nz, where you can also find the petition – it’s still worth signing to save our only ‘TV for grown-ups’ channel in NZ.

Asset Sales, CIR Referendum Petition, Keep Our Assets!

This has been a busy fortnight, and I’ve been ‘doing’ more than ‘writing’.

The second reading of the Bill to sell off our energy companies passed through last Thursday, there’s Hansard on it here if you want to find out who voted which way.

It has now moved through to the Third Reading; there was a scandalous one hour of Select Committee deliberation of submissions received before it was passed back to the House for the Second Reading debates. This is an abrogation of democratic process to a degree hitherto unequalled by this Parliament.

There are anti-sales protests happening all over the place, with Peter Dunne’s Ohariu electorate coming out in arms, placards and puppets.

There's even a puppet ...

There’s even a puppet …

People’s Power Ohariu‘s John Maynard has had quite a bit of media coverage in the past week, to the dismay of the PM, who is beginning to suggest that he may agree that the economy is tanking faster than his advisers told him it would, and that maybe we need the income from our assets more than we need to keep campaign promises to National Party backers.
Funny, Russel’s been saying that for months … and this, most recently.

Russel spoke at the protest last Thursday, and Gareth Hughes has also met with representatives of People’s Power when they first aired their placards and the new puppet (just after Dunne’s effigy in the Back Bencher pub was scorched by their unfortunate kitchen fire.)

Gareth Hughes at Parliament Rally

Gareth Hughes at Parliament Rally

There are bigger protests happening every few days, I recommend Thursday this week outside Parliament, from 12 noon. There’s even a FB event here, if you want to see how People’s Power roll currently.

Then, of course, there’s the Keep Our Assets Campaign, a coalition of interested groups including CTU, NZUSA, Labour, Greens, Grey Power, and many interested individuals.
These folk are collecting Citizen’s Initiated Referendum petition signatures, which I’ve mentioned before when it launched in May.
There will be KOA blitzes happening around the region, but may I draw your attention to one coming up this weekend in the eastern suburbs of Wellington.
FB event page here.

There’s some Save TV7 action on!

The lovely folks running the campaign to Save TV7 have sent me an e-mail advising me of a bunch of things happening around the country.
I’ll paraphrase, but the important part is this, for Aucklanders – go to the public meeting at Freemans Bay Community Centre TONITE Tuesday 15th May, from 7-9pm.

Brian Edwards is moderating a discussion with Clare Curran, Julie Anne Genter, Andrew Williams, Joe Atkinson and the public. They’re still hoping a representative from the Government will join them as well to explain the policy of closing down New Zealand’s last Public Service TV channel.

If you live in Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Dunedin, or Hamilton, your turn is coming up, from 21st May in Welli thru to 13th June in Hamilton – see the Save TV7 site for more details.

The on-line petition is still going, with over 22,000 signatures as of Monday night. Still time for more supporters to sign, so get cracking!

The Save TV7 crew have been busy getting badges, t-shirts and stickers produced, so look out for those at the meetings, and show your support.

There’s also a crowd-sourced ad campaign coming up, a follow-on from the articles and interviews that have been published in various media, and the half-page ad in last Friday’s NZ Herald. Here’s the blurb verbatim:

And finally we’re asking our friends (that’s you) to send us photos of yourselves in striking poses for our future ad campaigns. We’d like shots that put you in context (however that might be) and also a little rant about why TVNZ 7 is important to you. We’ll be compiling lots of the photos into an ad to show the government that there are real people who’ll be affected by the closure of TVNZ 7. Send it to savetvnz7@gmail.com and note that by doing so you agree to have your photo put on the internet and in newspapers up and down the country. So remember to SMILE.

Finally, another plug for my favourite TV7 programme – Back Benches, filming again this week on Wednesday night at the Back Bencher pub in Molesworth St across from Parliament, be there from 8pm-ish to get a seat, or book yourselves a table from 6pm to have dinner before the show.

This week it’s Green Party MP Holly Walker, Labour MP Grant Robertson, National MP Colin King, and New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin. Gutted I’m away and can’t be there to see this lot tackle the topics of bullying in schools and online, and the ramifications of new social welfare provisions aimed at beneficiary mothers and their children.
More details here.

Update:
The Auckland Meeting went off pretty well – media coverage including video here, by Granny Herald.

It’s been busy, so here’s a round-up!

I admit that my writing skills have been taking a back-seat as I have been doing a lot of running around lately.

The have been some excellent episodes of Back Benches, I’ve had a look at Court Report fronted by Linda Clark, and then there was that big Hikoi arriving in Wellington, and an ‘Aotearoa is not for sale’ march from Te Papa to Parliament, protesting against the proposed asset sales.

I made it to most of those, but due to other circumstances, won;’t be posting pix with this story. Meh, go search Facebook, there’ll be thousands of albums of pix of that march.

One more plug for TV7, and the episode of Back Benches airing this Wednesday 9th May. (If you’re in Welli, go down to the pub in Molesworth St, and join in, while you still can!)

Last week I went to my final episode, as I’m leaving town for a while. Wallace and Damian were very sweet about my apologies for not being able to attend the final show filming on 26th June; after letting me take a souvenir shot, they came back over a few minutes later and presented me with an impromptu gift.

So all those who have ever been even semi-regular – get down and watch the show, there will be goodies for people who have supported Back Benches over the years, and I’ll be sitting on the couch somewhere in Canterbury, looking to see what kind of bedlam ensues on the night.

So here’s this week’s line-up:
Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, Labour MP Shane Jones, New Zealand First MP Brendan Horan and National MP Mark Mitchell.
There’s more info here.
Here’s Back Benches episode 11 from 26th April, and here’s episode 12 from last week, 2nd May.
And what the heck, here’s where to find Court Report.

There is a lot of talk about the Government’s plans to sell our remaining energy SOE’s. The Green Party are heavily opposed to this plan, and along with several other concerned groups, are collecting signatures this winter to petition the Government for a referendum on asset sales.
There’s a place to sign-up to help this campaign here, and an excellent frogblog post about it here.

That should be enough to keep you busy for a while 😉

Global Action Day on Military Spending

Here in New Zealand, I’ve just been to one of the first events of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, a panel of speakers organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa.

The Stockholm Independent Peace Research Institute figures for 2011 military expenditure have just been released, there’s a summary available here.

Edwina Hughes from PMA spoke about the trillions of dollars spent globally on arms by all militaries of the world’s nations. She was followed by Anne Else from CPAG, who spoke about the effect a small proportion of the NZ MOD spend would have on the outcomes for alleviating poverty in this country. In NZ, we spend a bit over $NZ 3 billion each year, and as has been reported in the news today, not all of that spending is considered, wise or even fully accountable. Then we heard from Tara D’Sousa, International Programmes Manager, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, who spoke about the failure of NZ to keep up with it’s commitment to meet 0.7% of GNI as a target for overseas development assistance, which is a UNDP target.

This week’s Back Benches on TV7

THIS WEEK ON BACK BENCHES: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

WHAT THE FRACK?: Fracking – the mining process which blasts a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to extract gas or petroleum. We’ve been doing it for decades but now there is Parliamentary inquiry into process. The Greens are calling for a moratorium on fracking until the inquiry is over but the Government says that’s not necessary. It’s controversial-the practice has been blamed for groundwater contamination and earthquakes. Is fracking safe? Is there enough oversight? Oil and Gas exports bring about $3 billion to the economy. Can we say no to the practice?

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: A bill by Labour’s Sue Moroney says 6 months(26 weeks) rather than the current 3.5 months/14 weeks. The Government says that is unaffordable. Do we need more time for the country to recover financially? Key has left the door open for the future – but will our country EVER be able to afford extended leave? Is it ever a good idea to borrow money for additional entitlements? Or are there benefits, bigger than financial to consider?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 18th of April. Our Panel: Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, Labour MP Annette King, and National MP Katrina Shanks.

Yes, I am having a busy week, so I just stole that again from Wal & Damian’s site PR.

Do come down, last week was the Young Pollies episode which was a very sardine-packed session (I left it to them & stayed home, I’ll admit) – footage here. Wilbur Townsend represented the Young Greens admirably, despite his own personal misgivings before the filming. Student loans policy got a good thrashing, and one or more young pollies got themselves booed by the crowd – but I’m not saying whom, you’ll have to watch it yourselves.

Pub politics, every week until mid-year when the channel goes off air … boo hiss, TVNZ!

Our public service broadcasting is a backbone of intelligent viewing in NZ, it’s certainly not worth expecting the USA to provide intelligent programming that is affordable and can be broadcast free-to-air, so this is yet another decision made at the expense of our own jobs, our own sovereignty and reflecting our own communities, in all their diversity, on our own screens.

I will become an even more averse consumer of broadcasting after this happens; even now I’m more likely to show up and participate in the filming of Back Benches, than I am to watch an episode of anything else that TVNZ broadcasts across all it’s channels. I consider that the standard of programmes broadcast has fallen substantially in the past decade, and that New Zealand residents are getting ripped off by the decisions that favour cheap, rubbishy ‘reality’ show programmes over drama or comedy that could be keeping NZ-based writers, actors and production crews in work, and in the country.

If HBO is the only place where we can see award-winning kiwi comedy, then how does that make us look?

C’mon TVNZ, pull your socks up and keep our local content on our local stations. Or watch your audience decline to the point where those fat salaries just cannot continue to be dished out to those who make the decisions….

Update:
The show ran with Meteria Turei instead of Gareth Hughes (who was ill with a sore throat), and was unintentionally funny every time Katrina Shanks responded to a question with some phrase or other that had been vetted by her minders, but didn’t seem to answer the question.

Wallace got in a few good shots there, too, which left her doing the four-year-old “the grown-ups are making fun of me” pout. Go on, watch the episode, I kid you not, she really did that!

Annette King actually impressed me when the paid parental leave topic got a second airing, but she was no match for Meteria, who whomped the pair of them on every topic. The episode is here, and well worth a look.