Sunday, June 27, 2010

Anarchists hijack protest AGAIN

The latest round of the G-8 and G-20 meetings is currently being held in Toronto, Canada. These high level meetings are all about smoothing globalisation and addressing global issues. As such, they tend to inspire a certain level of protest by hippies, pacifists, leftists, nationalists, and pretty much anyone else who likes dreadlocks, listens to reggae, smokes a bit of ganja and generally wants to be free to bitch and moan about things he or she thinks are wrong with "the Western World", from climate change to poverty in Africa to oil to McDonalds to Hollywood to overpriced CDs to internet restrictions to AIDS to disenfranchised and culturally impoverished minorities and all that other jazz which are traditionally laid at the door step of capitalism.
Unfortunately, for the past decade or so these legitimate protests have been hijacked by serious, orgainised, violent thugs - the Anarchists. Most anarchists, from what I've seen of their antics, actually believe in nothing more than wanton destruction; they are, for all intents and purposes, initiating Fight Club's Project Mayhem. Innocent businesses are targetted, shop windows destroyed and displays stolen or vandalised in an orgy of looting and pillaging, while security forces maintain a high level of alert to prevent any of the high level dignatories present from being assassinated.

The Toronto Star reports the burning of police cars, and the innocent casualties as bystanders and peaceful protestors got in the way of police action against the determined but cowardly anarchist fringe. This is why people should not attend protests - when will they realise that in doing so they simply leave themselves wide open to being used as a human shield by the anarchists and terrorists who routinely hijack such events? It appears also that misinformation is being spread by these Black Bloc anarchists, who blatantly lied in numerous twitterings about rubber bullets being fired at them.

One of the anarchists claimed that their actions were not violent in themselves, but "vandalism against violent corporations. We did not hurt anybody. They (the corporations) are the ones hurting people..”. Funny. Explain that to the pack of masked protesters who attacked someone's unoccupied BMW 4X4.“Stop it. They’re not our enemies,” one protester shouted. The other retorted: “Yuppies are our enemy.”

We need to take this threat seriously. Free speech is only a right when people exercise the responsibility of respecting security and property. When thugs, looters, pillagers and hooligans descend on the streets, they need to expect a hail of bullets, a cloud of tear gas, and the baying of bloodthirsty guard dogs. Provided that police and event security inform any intending protesters that these methods will be employed if a demonstration gets out of hand, I can see nothing wrong with this. International law also needs to recognise that anyone caught at a protest in Black Bloc regalia should be charged as a member of an Anarchist Organisation (although this in itself seems a contradiction in terms!), which needs to be at the same level as a Terrorist Organisation.

That's my two cents to sense this week. I'm still too upset about the unbeaten All Whites not making it through to the second round to comment on them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Russel's a Norman

NZ is currently hosting a visit by the Chinese Vice-President, Xi Jinpin. We have a free trade agreement with China, which is supposedly a good thing - I'm not sure if there's been an increase of cheap Chinese crap in the two dollar shops or the Warehouse lately but apparently we're selling more stuff over there so that's all good.

Anyway, Dr Russel Norman, former member of the Australian Communist Party, now a NZ citizen and co-leader of the NZ Communist - sorry, Green - Party (these days its not just colour blind people that think red and green look the same!), took it upon himself to abuse his position of responsibility as a Member of Parliament and demand "democracy" for the people of Tibet while waving a Tibetan flag, in a clear publicity stunt. He was manhandled by Chinese security and has filed charges against them.

The Background

China invaded Tibet shortly after Mao's Communists had consolidated control within the mainland. At the time Tibet was being ruled as a feudal theocracy by a Buddhist monastocratic elite (that word probably doesn't exist, but it means monk-rulers) who prevented the majority of the population from learning to read and kept them in perpetual servitude under the "benevolent rule" of the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader. Most of the Tibetan people were living in worse conditions than English serfs during the time of Robin Hood. China invaded, overthrew the monastic elite, and began modernising the state: Tibet was strategically important to the security of the new Communist power, and at this time it was looking uneasily towards the Indian border (China and India ended up going to war in the early 1970s). The Dalai Lama eventually escaped into exile and since then has been encouraging a 'Free Tibet' movement, which has some enthusiastic followers here in NZ as well as around the world. Most of the supporters of the Tibetan independence movement have no idea what conditions were like under Buddhist rule and do not appreciate that, by and large, the Tibetan people now enjoy a much higher standard of living and have much better prospects than they had before the Chinese invasion.

The Situation

A peaceful protest was being conducted not far from where the Chinese Vice-President was, in accordance with NZ law and custom. Many of the protestors seemed to be members of Falun Gong rather than any Free Tibet movement, but that's beside the point. Dr Norman, as a Member of Parliament, was accorded access to the Vice President which is normally denied to the public. In an act of blatant disregard for the obligations inherent to his position, he chose to wave a Tibetan flag in front of the Vice President and make various demands concering the Tibetan people. Now, if a representative of the Palestinian National Authority came to visit and you had an MP wave an Israeli flag at him, there would be an outcry, just as would have been the case even 20 years ago if an Israeli government official had visited and someone yelled at him while waving a Nazi swastika. (I say 20 years ago because I am sure Norman and his ilk would quite happily wave swastikas in front of Israeli officials these days.) The Chinese security accompanying Xi Jinpin, obviously not accustomed to our way of handling things, grabbed Dr Norman and pulled the flag off him. TV coverage of the event is quite funny, actually - he bleats like a little child who has had a lollipop taken off him: "give me back my flag, give me back my flag!" Well, I laughed anyway. Following the incident the Greens co-leader announced his intention of laying charges against the Chinese for manhandling him.

My Opinion

I don't particularly like the way the Chinese government does things, and have in fact conducted my own boycott of Chinese made goods since just before the Beijing Olympics, which I did not watch. However, this man was (and still is) a guest in our country. Protestors were permitted to demonstrate at a distance, so as to prevent any potential security risk such as suicide bombers or other similar attacks (you can't be too careful these days, even in NZ). Russel Norman is a member of parliament, and as such he has a level of dignity and mana which he must maintain as a representative of the people of this country. In the past week we've seen some MPs fail in this regard - Shane Jones and his use of a ministerial credit card to pay for porn in a hotel room being only the most obvious example - and today we've seen another epic failure. Dr Norman has the right to protest, just like all NZers. But if he wanted to do so, he should have been with the other protestors. Abusing his rank and position to conduct a protest is way beyond the pale.

Quite frankly, he's a dick.

That's my two cents to sense.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All Whites YAY Vuvuzela NAY!

Time zones suck. For the next month many of us are going to be grumpy and sleep deprived, and those bloody plastic horns definitely don't help. Okay, blow it once or twice when a goal has been scored - no problem. But why on earth are they being blown for the whole bloody game? They're doing my head in. I watched as many football matches as I could, pretty much every single day, during the last Cup in Germany, and the Cup before in South Korea and Japan. Those were awesome tournaments - well run, well attended, well organised; the only thing wrong with them was that NZ wasn't there. Now, however, we return to the world stage, and what do we have to put up with? THAT goal by Winston Reid will go down in history, and every time we watch it we will have to endure those bloody vuvuzelas. So thanks for ruining a magical night and a great tournament, South Africa. That's the last time I ever support your hosting another international tournament. I'm boycotting all matches not featuring NZ until the semi-finals - if another billion people did the same, I'm sure the sponsors would lean on FIFA and we'd see some action quick smart.

On the plus side, NZ 1-1 Slovakia. We're ranked, what, 88th or something in the world? Slovakia's only about 50 places higher than us. But this campaign has been about going above and beyond: we played amazingly well to beat Bahrain and qualify; we had a blinder against Australia which we lost at the last minute (and we should have been playing 9 men rather than 11 for much of the game); we beat Serbia, ranked in the top 20 in the world, just a few weeks ago; and we came out all guns blazing last night. Judging by the Facebook traffic I'd say the better part of a million people must have been watching that game in the early hours of this morning. To be honest, in think the last 20 minutes of the first half and first 30 of the second were pretty much all Slovakia - their guys were just running rings around ours, and we were lucky to survive with only one goal being scored against us. Paston pulled off some good saves and there was some great defence by Reid, Lochhead, and Nelson. I got the feeling that Elliot, at 36, has definitely seen better days and was having difficulty controlling the ball - mind you, who hasn't, Robert Gates? Smeltz didn't really get out of first gear until the second half and only had two decent attempts on goal, and our entire strategy seemed to be kick the ball high and hope that Killen can connect his head to it. 3 minutes into injury time and it seemed like it was all over, until Smeltz punted the ball with pinpoint accuracy and Reid - wtf was the central defender doing in front of goal??? - guided the ball in with a flick of the neck and a tap of the forehead. Magic. I felt a little sorry for Slovakia, denied their first ever win in their first ever World Cup match, but only a smidgen. A draw's as good as a win. Our first point from a World Cup match and, would you believe it, we are now in a tie for first place in our pool. Admittedly, a four-way tie between all four teams in the pool, courtesy of an Italy-Paraguay 1-1 draw the previous night, but still, we'll take what we can get. Realistically Italy will probably teach us how to play but the Paraguayan match is shaping up to be our sudden death, do or die, one shot for glory, elimination game. Bring it on.


Australia longs to forget their 4-0 drubbing by Germany, claiming NZ as their own! "Australasia 1 - Slovakia 1" - wtf? :

The world press loves us, apparently:

Winston Reid sets the World Cup alight!:

BBC straight to the point:

Even the NYTimes has a story about us! :

All Whites make history:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pointing the Finger at Me Leaves Three Fingers Pointing Back at You - Part Three

My Opinion

In case it's not readily apparent, I should make my bias clear. I'm a Zionist. I believe that the state of Israel, as a descendant of the historical Kingdom of Israel, has a right to exist. I believe that the Palestinian Arabs have been used as a political pawn by the Arab World to divert the attention of their own people away from democratisation and attempts to create a more transparent govenment at home. I think that Israel needs to sort out a proper solution with the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank so that the Palestinians can see the fruits of negotiation and diplomacy and overthrow the terrorist "government" which they elected out of a sense of frustration, anger and hatred during the latest intifada.
I also think that the rest of the world needs to stop playing the Palestinian propaganda game. These guys are masters at manipulating public opinion; they know that many people on the left of the political spectrum need only a little prodding before their basic underlying mistrust of authority simmers to the surface, and only a little direction to divert that towards the Palestinian cause. There would not be a Palestinian cause if Israel's Arab neighbours had accepted the 1949 peace treaty as a firm definition of Israel's borders, and taken moves to relocate and accommodate any Palestinian Arabs who chose not to return at the stage. Subsequent invasions and plans to invade Israel led to a quite natural attempt by the Israeli government to expand its territorial holdings in order to obtain the strategic depth which is vital to the preservation of a state surrounded by enemies.

There is no easy fix to this problem, simply because we have so many people who are so completely invested in a particular outcome. The Palestinian West Bank wants East Jerusalem as its capital; Israel believes that a united Jerusalem is paramount to its nation's identity. I can't quite understand why the rest of the West Bank doesn't just join with Jordan in a Transjordanian Union, but I'm sure someone will explain why.

Like it or not, the blockade of Gaza has to be managed in such a way to retain Israel's security and international prestige (such as it remains) without giving in to the terrorists. Perhaps if the amount of humanitarian aid donated to Gaza were doubled, with Israel agreeing to match every piece of international aid given with a can of food or other such item, this would go some way to alleviating the alleged humanitarian crisis and defusing the claims of the pro-Palestinian lobby.

Those poor, innocent, misguided fools who let themselves get manipulated into taking part in protests, demonstrations, and "Gaza Freedom Flotillas" need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves why it is that they can't see the SS uniform they're wearing. Pro-Palestinian action is a legitimate display of anti-Semitism in the Western World, and the pro-terror groups sponsoring such actions know it.

Here's some sites I used to bolster my postings today; other sources of information include many years of reading countless books on the subject and creating a coherent backstory from it, as well as Time magazine and the Encyclopedia Britannica, and a few text books we used to use when I taught the Israel-Palestine topic in Year 11 History.

Sorry, the link html isn't working - if you're interested, just copy and past the urls into your browser:’s-debacle-at-sea.html

I wonder why someone can't just buy them all a Coke and let them live in harmony ... some thing tells me that we're still going to be arguing about this in 50 years time, and 50 years after that, and 50 years after that ...

That's this week's two cents to sense.

Pointing the Finger at Me Leaves Three Fingers Pointing Back at You - Part Two

The Situation

Gaza has been blockaded by both Israel and Egypt (hmm, haven’t seen many Egyptian flags burning over the past week or two...) since around June 2007 or so, as a direct result of the 2006 election victory by the terrorist group Hamas and the subsequent takeover of Gaza by Hamas forces in March 2007. Since the blockade, Israel has permitted only limited humanitarian aid supplies into Gaza – enough, the Israeli authorities say, to stave off malnutrition and hunger, but not enough, critics point out, to allow any form of self sufficiency or comfort sneak in. Israel’s navy patrols the coast to intercept and redirect any shipping en route to Gaza, while Egypt’s land forces are constructing an underground steel barrier on its side of the border in an attempt to seal off the tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle food, medicine, munitions, and weapons into the territory. While Israel’s motives for the blockade are primarily to deny sufficient resources to Hamas to allow it to continue its relentless rocket attacks on Israeli territory, Egypt’s motivation is to show solidarity with the legitimate Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Hamas is using the blockade to shore up hatred of Israel and to increase its own strength. In February 2000 Hamas “police” confiscated a large number of food parcels and blankets from the UN Relief mission, and confiscated more than 200 tonnes of food in another incident several days later. It was only a threat by the UN to suspend all its relief work in Gaza which forced Hamas to back down and return the stolen items, which observers believe would have been used as largesse to reward loyal Hamas followers in the blockaded territory.

On 31 May 2010 the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) intercepted a convoy of six ships heading for Gaza. Five of the six ships in the so-called “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” seem to have complied with Israeli instructions not to break the blockade, although they, like the sixth vessel (the MV Mavi Marmara) had earlier ignored a request to dock at Israel’s port of Ashdod, from where the approved aid items would be delivered to Gaza. The MV Mavi Marmara, the main ship in the convoy, seemed intent to break the blockade, and Israeli commandos moved to enforce the blockade by boarding the ship. Despite some footage of the events being released by the IDF (critics point out that much of the footage lacks context), we are unsure as to what exactly happened next, but what cannot be denied as that there was a struggle aboard the ship as the “peaceful” protestors sought to prevent the Israeli forces from taking control of the vessel, and 9 people aboard the ship were shot and killed, with 60 others, and 10 IDF members, being injured.

When news of the convoy’s imminent departure from Cyprus reached the Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh earlier in the week, he claimed that "if the ships reach Gaza, it's a victory for Gaza... If they are intercepted and terrorised by the Zionists, it will be a victory for Gaza, too, and they will move again in new ships to break the siege of Gaza." Interestingly enough, when the ships were diverted and offloaded at Ashdod, Hamas refused to accept any of the aid aboard the vessels – aid which, according to some reports, was composed of food past its use-by date.

As a direct result of the international reception to this event, Egypt relaxed the blockade on its end of the border; despite the apparent inspections which are going on at the Rafah border crossing, there is little doubt that this has allowed Hamas to significantly rearm itself. It also means, however, that there is no further need for “humanitarian” organisations to attempt to break the blockade, as, if they truly wanted to send aid into Gaza, they can do so from both Israel and Egypt, while there is nothing to prevent people in Gaza getting what they need from Egypt (provided they can get the requisite travel documents from their own “government”, which is problematic as Hamas will only let certain people travel outside of its demesne).

Critics of the blockade suggest that the blockade does not distinguish between civilians and military opponents (which of course it cannot because Hamas, being a paramilitary terror group, uses civilians to conduct its actions). A 1977 amendment to the Geneva Convention specifically prohibits the use of any collective measures which do not distinguish between military targets and innocent civilians. While Israel has not signed these protocols, the international community expects it to uphold them; Hamas, as a terrorist organisation administering an internationally unrecognised statelet, has also not signed the protocols and is unable to do so even if it were willing.

The September 2009 Goldstone Report into Gaza and the blockade by the UN suggested that it was a crime against humanity and recommended that the matter be referred to the International Court of Justice by March 2010 if the situation had not improved by then. Israel condemned the report as being biased and poorly researched, and stands by its claim today that the situation, while not pleasant, is certainly not fatal – at least not for those people living in Gaza, anyway.

Pointing the Finger at Me Leaves Three Fingers Pointing Back at You - Part One

Recent events in relation to the Gaza blockade have once more catapulted the mess that is Middle Eastern politics into the world's living rooms - here we were thinking the BP was the devil because of the oil spill and then all of a sudden we're reminded that there's other devils still hanging around out there...

The Background

There was this guy called Abraham, and he had a son, Isaac ... okay, maybe this is going a little too far back but the problem with this saga is that it's hard to remember when it all began. We're coming in at the middle of the story, like Star Wars - when it starts, we see this tiny little blockade runner being pursued by the biggest baddest mofo of a star destroyer ( “IDF inflatable vessel”) anyone had seen to date, and over the course of the film our emotions are manipulated into thinking that the rebels ( “aid flotilla”) are "good" and that the Imperial (“Israeli”) forces are "bad". Of course, when we go back to the beginning of the story we find out that, while some of the guiding forces behind the Empire (“Israel”) may have had a rather mixed agenda (like all that nonsense with the Stern Gang and Irgun, wtf was that all about guys? Kind of like going to the Dark Side and giving in to the Sith, right?), all the Empire really really wants is peace, order, a place to call home, and security - something that the ineffectual Republic (“Palestinians”) cannot enjoy because the Galactic Senate (“Hamas”, the “PLO”, “Fatah” – take your pick) is corrupt and ill advised. The Empire, we see, is actually the good guy in all this - Imperial forces have established a relatively peaceful regime, one which is ordered and controlled and where the people are safe in their own beds, apart from the ungrateful little bastards who set up the rebellion because their piece of the pie wasn't big enough for them. Most people can’t see the Lucas layer of mystification to perceive the truth behind it, although he himself got a little mixed up with the analogy and brought in a whole bunch of cuddly teddy bear Ewoks (“Viet Cong”) to defeat the overwhelming technologically advanced forces of the Empire (in this case, the “USA”), which of course we all know is a load of crap; the only reason the VC won is because the ARVN didn’t want freedom, liberty and security enough to fight for it.

Anyway, back to the Israel-Palestine thing. It is sovereignty over the land (which they’re welcome to, by the way – NZ has much more worth fighting for than that strip of sand and dust ever will, other than some cool old ruins) to which both groups have eons-old claims which lies at the centre of their dispute; land which, until the early 20th century, was really not being utilised very well at all, so the Zionist Jews who began arriving back "home" after the centuries long Diaspora legitimately purchased the land from the Ottoman Empire and began to work it, then invited more of their brethren back to the Promised Land to purchase more of it, work it, and set up kibbutzim. The Palestinian Arabs living there were rather annoyed at these Johnny come-latelies making more money out of the land and started protesting vigorously. Britain made deals with both sides during WWI, which is usually where most synopses of this situation start, and was given a mandate over the entire area after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Some 90% of the region was converted into Transjordan, essentially a Palestinian Arab territory, while the rest - called "Palestine" by the British just to confuse everybody, allowed limited entry by some of Europe's Jews – although not enough to accommodate the many Jews who wanted entry, many of whom resorted to smuggling themselves in. By 1931 Jews formed 13% of the population of the mandated territory, but the number of Jews in the area more than doubled over the next six years with the rise of the Nazis in Germany a significant contributing factor. The situation was becoming untenable when WWII came along and with it the Holocaust, the ruthless extermination of millions of Jews and other undesirables (although not Muslims, because Hitler and the Nazis had an understanding with some of the highly ranked Muftis in the Middle East and are said to have admired the Islamic faith). Throughout the '30s many hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Germany, and millions more would have followed had it not been for the reluctance of the rest of the world to allow too many Jews into their countries (which, you have to say, was probably justified to an extent – every country has the right to limit the number of new arrivals it takes and no person has the right to enter or claim citizenship of another country just because they think they should be entitled to it). Stories like that of the MS St Louis which was denied entry from various ports as it carried a number of Jews seeking sanctuary show the exact reason for why Israel was established in 1948, and why it should still be there today – no matter what happens in the world, if there is an attempt to repeat the Holocaust against the Jewish people, there is one country that has an open border; any Jew, anywhere in the world, is entitled to entry and citizenship in Israel.

Unfortunately the Arab world was not too happy with a Jewish state being re-established in the area, and the Jews themselves were not about to let a little thing like a UN directive get in their way, not when they’d survived the worst that life can throw at you. (Interestingly none of the Arab countries supported the UN Partition Plan either.) So David Ben Gurion declared independence for Israel in 1948 and immediately thereafter the infant state was attacked on all sides by all its neighbours – Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. Oh, and it won. Some 700,000+ Palestinians fled or were felt impelled to leave their ancestral homes in the Palestine territory during this war, although interestingly enough well over a million Palestinian Arabs remained in Israel and gained citizenship of the new state, and more than 800,000 Jews left or were forced to leave the Arab World by the early 1970s; oh, and there’s only one of those groups which remains huddled in refugee shelters and dependent on overseas aid. The Jews helped their people, and enfranchised the Arabs who had remained, while the rest of the Arab World basically cursed their people and did their best to isolate them while holding them up as a tool which legitimised their hatred of Israel. Somehow we tend to forget the Arab World’s role in this massive humanitarian crisis... Anyway, the borders established in that war remain what most countries in the world still recognise at Israel’s “official” border, although Israel itself soon realised that a lack of strategic depth would be a significant weakness. A number of wars followed: in 1956 against Egypt, which had sought to block Israeli shipping in violation of a number of international agreements; in 1967 against Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq – a mass mobilisation on its borders provoking a pre-emptive strike from the IDF, wiping out the impending and seemingly overwhelming invasion forces to the north, east and west within less than six days; in 1973, as a result of Egypt and Syria’s surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holy days; in 1982, against PLO forces in Lebanon, and again in 2006, this time against Hezbollah forces there; and in 2008-9 against Hamas forces in Gaza. Notably the nature of the enemy has changed in recent years; Israel has not officially gone to war since the 1970s, and its military actions have been primarily retaliations against terrorist activities. This means that Israel has surrendered the initiative to the terrorists, and it is in this context that we must view the most recent events – ie the blockade runner.


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