The end of January saw the annual pilgrimage of an average of forty or so protesting citizens to the Waihopai spy base. Their protest is organised by long-term activist Murray Horton of the Anti-Bases Campaign.
The remote, eavesdropping centre displays its elegant puffballs among the Marlborough vineyards – just ten kilometers from where this newsletter is being composed. The protest has its roots in David Lange’s wish to appease a USA, dangerously infuriated by NZ’s decision to leave ANZUS and go non-nuclear. Not realizing the implications or functions of the base, let alone the consequential loss of NZ sovereignty, the permission was granted without the cabinet, parliament or the public, having had an opportunity to debate the pros and cons.
The cons are becoming ever more apparent. The protesters were addressed by Nicky Hager, whose pioneering research had originally revealed the extent of the American intelligence agencies’ spying on private citizens several years before Edward Snowden blew his whistle. They were also addressed by Ollie Neas (the investigative journalist who revealed that the NZ government was allowing Rocket Lab to launch US military satellites from the Mahia peninsular) and Teanau Tuiono, the Green Party spokesperson for intelligence.
Certainly the Green Party is fully aware of the problem posed by Waihopai. There are also early indications that under Nanaia Mahuta, as Labour’s Foreign Minister, New Zealand will follow a more independent course in regard to the USA. Should this route be chosen, it will contrast dramatically from that of her predecessor. Winston Peters had declared the USA’s military involvement in New Zealand’s South Pacific neighbourhood to be both entirely desirable and actively encouraged. Folly 4 minute read.
Wuhan? First findings of WHO’s on the ground investigation into Covid origin. 3 minute read.
Sinophrenia A well-informed Australian commentary on the imminence, or otherwise, of a Chinese economic collapse – written for Australian eyes . 3 minute read.
Military coup Myanmar is a very complex society and not well-suited to western-style, first past the post (military or civilian) rule. Al-Jazeera’s correspondent makes a convincing argument to change Myanmar’s first-past- the-post constitution to a MMP system. Could NZ act as consultant? (Probably not: having perhaps been too hasty to cut off diplomatic ties with a Junta that wants to influence, rather than rule, and will be looking for a way out of the mess it has landed itself in.) 4 minute read.
Environment & Climate Change
Climate report NZ’s Climate Commission Report: proposals for government action. What will transpire remains to be seen. Climate change is going to go ahead no matter how much suffering for mitigation NZ inflicts on its relatively insignificant population. However, if NZ’s voice is going to have any chance of being heeded by the major polluters, it has to be shown to be walking the walk. How much pain will NZ governments risk inflicting on their electorates for such a long-term and uncertain goal? The next newsletter will offer further informed commentaries on the Commission’s report. 5 minute or 5 hour read.
Difficulties An early indication of the difficulties ahead. Note the use of the ‘N’ word! 3 minute read.
Human Rights & Justice
Ecuador The background to Ecuador’s betrayal of Julian Assange. 15 minute watch.
Sweden complicit An insightful account of the background to Sweden’s betrayal of Julian Assange. An illustration of the methods used by the elites of the western democracies to sustain their position. 8 minute read.
Peace & Conflict resolution
Space wars We live in a lunatic asylum and, in true democratic fashion, have placed the lunatics in control. It won’t take much to circle the Earth with so much war debris that space becomes unusable for future generations. 3 minute read.
Disobedience No chance Biden will resolve the USA’s hate-Fest with Iran. 4 minute read.
UN Mediation The UN’s heroic efforts at conciliation in Syria (and elsewhere) continue to be stymied by a constitution that leaves it powerless in face of the intransigence of outside nations with interests other than the welfare of the Syrians. 2 minute read.