Lies and propaganda | The Jackal

8 Feb 2013

Lies and propaganda

Today, The Diplomat published a rather glowing report on John Key that can only be viewed as outright garbage.

In fact it's clear that this wasn't really an interview at all, but rather a puff piece of propaganda designed to make the Prime Minister appear intelligent.

But dig a little deeper below what John Key is being reported as saying, and the truth becomes readily apparent.

New Zealanders are proud of this country’s long record of advocacy on nuclear disarmament, and our strong support for the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world. New Zealand views nuclear security as part of our broader and longstanding commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

It's true that the country as a whole has a longstanding commitment to nuclear disarmament... However it's not true of the current government who have been secretly undermining our nuclear free status.

One way that National has been undermining New Zealands nuclear free status is through investing in the nuclear weapons industry.

The NZ Superfund has a number of large investments in companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, which is a clear violation of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 (PDF), which states:

No person, who is a New Zealand citizen or a person ordinarily resident in New Zealand, and who is a servant or agent of the Crown, shall, beyond the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone,—
(a) manufacture, acquire, or possess, or have control over, any nuclear explosive device; or
(b) aid, abet, or procure any person to manufacture, acquire, possess, or have control over any nuclear explosive device.

The Act is also violated by the shipping through New Zealand ports of large amounts of yellowcake, which is a kind of uranium concentrate powder used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

It's clear that John Key is simply paying lip service to New Zealand's nuclear free status while allowing transactions to be conducted by New Zealanders both here and abroad that benefit the nuclear weapons industry.

But John Key obviously isn't going to let a few inconvenient truths get in the way of his spin...

The truth is that Afghanistan has made tremendous progress over the past eleven years. Most importantly, the country is no longer a haven for international terrorists. Al Qaeda, a substantial threat to international security in 2001 and the reason for our initial military involvement, has been significantly weakened and largely driven from Afghanistan. Furthermore, with the assistance of the ISAF coalition, the Afghanistan National Security Forces are becoming increasingly capable of continuing the fight against the Taliban after the ISAF mission concludes next year.

Thanks in part to international efforts, Afghanistan also now has a functioning, albeit Afghan-style, representative democracy. State institutions are in place, and there is a thriving civil society not seen in Afghanistan for a generation. Despite ongoing challenges, millions of Afghans now enjoy human rights they were denied by the Taliban. In short, quality of life for ordinary Afghans has significantly improved.

That all sounds fine and dandy, but in reality the lives of ordinary Afghans haven't improved at all since the occupation began... In fact they've worsened dramatically on many fronts.

One major factor that has degraded is the production of opium for the world market. In 2001, Opium production had all but ceased under a directive of the Taliban, but according to the World Drug Report (PDF) Afghanistan is now the largest illicit opium producer (at around 90% supply) in the entire world.

In terms of how effective the occupying forces have been at reducing Al-Qaeda's strength, most analysts agree that although Al-Qaeda still has a presence in the country, the NATO operation has been somewhat successful.

However on January 8, the BBC reported:

But if improving security for the average Afghan is the criterion by which success is measured, the answer is very different. Civilian casualties have risen steeply every year for the past five years - although they fell in the first half of 2012. It remains to be seen if that trend is sustained.

After more than a decade of war, the Taliban are a long way from being defeated and have been growing in strength. Many of Nato's territorial gains are by no means irreversible and the militants still have the capacity to launch devastating surprise attacks such as the September 2012 attack on Camp Bastion.

If the troop surge of 2010 was successful in stopping the Taliban's momentum in the south, it did not succeed in defeating the militants, especially in the north and centre where the alliance is thinner on the ground.

The pressure on Nato leaders to pull troops out has also been exacerbated by a series of "green-on-blue" attacks in which members of the Afghan security forces have turned their arms on coalition troops. At least 60 Nato personnel were killed in such attacks in 2012.

Insurgents have exacted a much heavier toll - since 2001 more than 3,000 coalition troops have been killed in Afghanistan.

So things aren't as rosy in Afghanistan as the disingenuous John Key would lead us to believe.

Now I wonder if the Prime Minister will be truthful concerning our relationship with the US.

The relationship between New Zealand and the United States has never been better.

The relationship between National and the United States' government might be good, but the relationship with the general public is not. One case that stands out is the illegal process used by the United States concerning entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, who is a New Zealand citizen.

Couple this with various law changes to increase state powers and the huge amount of taxpayer dollars spent to help the US spy on the public both here and abroad, and it's clear that the relationship between ordinary citizens in New Zealand and the US administration is troubled.

There’s no doubt that freedoms we previously took for granted have been reduced. Unfortunately new laws to repress the public have been systematically implemented by a right wing agenda and overseen by various spies and other US officials.

We were pleased to host U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in New Zealand last year – the first visit here by a U.S. Secretary of Defense in over 25 years. Secretary Panetta described his visit as marking a “new era” between the two countries. His decision to lift the formal restrictions on military staff talks and New Zealand ship visits to U.S. ports represented a positive step forward in defense relations. We look forward to building on this agenda of cooperation with Secretary Panetta's successor.

That would be great if our defence forces weren't demoralized because of budget cuts and mismanagement. In September 2010, the National government told the New Zealand Defence Force to reduce costs and a civilianisation project was one of several measures they initiated in response.

On January 24, the Auditor General reported:

Converting 1400 military positions into civilian positions would always be difficult. Discharging military staff has to be carried out with great care to avoid damaging the bonds of camaraderie, integrity, and commitment that are part of NZDF culture. Instead, NZDF chose a course that led to a drop in morale and an increase in attrition resulting in reduced capability. NZDF now needs to recover from the damage caused by the civilianisation project.

You can bet your bottom dollar that the Auditor General is being highly diplomatic... Let's just translate what Lyn Provost means:

Because of National giving large tax cuts to the rich and mismanaging the economy, they've had to make large budget cuts in other areas. That drive for savings has not been done with any proper planning or thought to the consequences, and the result is a demoralized and therefore less effective defence force.

It should be pointed out that one of the main reasons for the increased visits by United States officials is our growing relationship with China. National likes China mainly because of their low waged economy, which unlike New Zealand still manages to provide growth.

Keys ideological belief system that there should be wage slaves is one of the main reasons why he's overly optimistic about our relationship with the People's Republic of China.

China’s growing role in the world economy is positive for New Zealand.

It hasn't been very positive so far... Instead of benefiting our economy, National has simply sold large chunks of our most productive land to the Chinese who simply ship what is produced back to China for processing... That means there's little job creation in New Zealand.

China is New Zealand’s largest source of overseas students and our second largest (and fastest growing) source of tourists. This growth is remarkable given the context of the global economic crisis.

I wouldn't call a 2.5% increase in the number of students from China between July 2011 and March 2012 "remarkable" in any way shape or form. In fact there's been an overall 7% decrease of international students over the same time period.

It should also be pointed out that New Zealand now has a reputation for a place to gain fake qualifications, which does nothing for our international standing.

Despite the Rugby World Cup, overall tourism has also declined under John Keys mismanagement. His diabolical statements concerning our 100% Pure branding have resonated around the world and resulted is less tourist dollars.

Despite what John Key believes, that lost revenue will not be regained through other means.

New Zealand’s exports of high quality dairy, meat, fish, kiwifruit and wine are significant but there is potential for significant further growth.

Which means very little while our high dollar reduces profit margins and ensures many companies are going out of business.

So what is John Key's answer to the problem?

New Zealand was pleased to host Round 15 of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in December 2012, when we welcomed new participants Mexico and Canada to the table. TPP is the most ambitious FTA negotiation currently under way in the Asia‑Pacific region. Negotiations are at an advanced stage, and the process enjoys sustained political will from the highest levels.

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement will in a nutshell remove consumer rights. Amongst many other negative effects, the dubious TPP will revoke current labeling laws for fear that a label might identify ingredients the consumer doesn't like, thus negatively impacting on profits. There is no right to know what you are eating under the TPP.

Unfortunately there's been a general lack of transparency and public consultation throughout the TPP process, and along with giving private businesses the right to sue governments if they make legislation that negatively impacts on their profit margins, the TPP will generally reduce New Zealand's independence as a sovereign nation.

It's disappointing to see a Prime Minister who's so obviously blinded by his own rhetoric that he ignores reality. Clearly the Prime Minister is adamant that he won't tackle the burning issues that New Zealand faces and instead promotes propaganda and outright lies, and for that John Key should be ousted.