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- Forget John Farnham – Here’s What Clark And Howard Should Have Discussed Last Month
On 20 February Keith Locke urged Helen Clark to ask John Howard during his visit to New Zealand if expelled Israeli diplomat Amir Laty was a spy.
“Australian newspapers are saying more confidently that Mr Laty was a spy, and that his expulsion had something to do with his relationship with the two Mossad agents jailed in New Zealand,” said Keith.
“Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock has denied that Mr Laty’s friendship with Ruddock’s daughter Caitlin had anything to do with his ejection. All the ‘informed sources’ quoted by Australian newspapers point to a link with Mossad’s efforts to gain New Zealand passports. Mr Laty visited the jailed agents in Auckland.”
Mr Locke said the Government’s demand for an explanation from the Israeli Government should be extended to the Australian Government.
“We need to know if Mr Laty was the ‘handler’ of the two jailed Israelis, as rumoured in the Australian press. If he was, we have to take action to stop Israel’s Australia-based diplomats, who are cross-accredited to New Zealand, conducting further covert operations against New Zealand.”
“Piece-by-piece, a picture is being constructed that the Mossad passport operation was run out of Australia.
“The lead agent, Zev Barkan, a former Israeli diplomat, came to New Zealand last year via Sydney, and the two agents caught and jailed, Eli Cara and Uriel Kelman, were both in Australia. Cara was based near Sydney and crossed the Tasman 24 times in three years. Now we have a link with a diplomat in the Canberra embassy.”
The PM should also see Mr Howard’s visit as an opportunity to use our close relationship with Australia to encourage him to improve Australia’s human rights record, Keith said on 18 February.
“New Zealanders have been horrified at the atrocious prison conditions of asylum seekers in Australia, and the Howard government’s scant regard shown for its own citizens imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.
“It would therefore be entirely appropriate for Ms Clark to raise such matters with Mr Howard, and consistent with her dealings with other Prime Ministers.”
Keith was particularly concerned at the case of Mamdouh Habib – an Australian citizen recently released from Guantanamo Bay – who claims Australian officials stood by and watched while he was abused in Pakistan.
“New Zealanders are appalled by the constant stream of stories coming out in the Australian media about abuse at Australian refugee detention centres. Just recently, there was the astounding case of Cornelia Rau, a German-born Australian resident who was mistaken for an asylum-seeker and locked up in Baxter Immigration Detention Centre for six months.
“Mr Howard should be reminded by the Prime Minister that New Zealanders hold the respect for human rights in high regard, and that we do not take kindly to the Australian Government giving our region a bad name.”
- Register Now – For The Protest Against Spies And Spy Bases, Wellington, Easter, Saturday March 26, Sunday 27
The Anti-Bases Campaign (ABC) is organising something a little different after many years of protests at the Waihopai spybase, in Marlborough. It has decided to focus attention instead on Wellington. Why?
- because it is home to the headquarters of the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), New Zealand’s biggest and most secret spy agency. The GCSB operates the Waihopai and Tangimoana spybases on behalf of the foreign powers grouped together in the super-secret UKUSA Agreement (which shares global electronic and signals intelligence among the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ).
- because Wellington is the diplomatic and political capital of New Zealand. It is in Wellington, not the Waihopai Valley or Blenheim, where control of New Zealands intelligence agencies and foreign policy resides. There is a whole “Secret Wellington” to be explored and exposed. It is a secret world ranging from the HQ of the Security Intelligence Service, NZ’s best known spy agency, to the embassies and high commissions of our Big Brothers, such as the US, UK and Australia.
- because it is the closest main city to the “forgotten” Tangimoana spybase. Details about Tangimoana can be found on the ABC Website at http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/otherbases.html
The programme for the weekend is as follows:
Saturday March 26
Seminar, St Johns Presbyterian Church, corner of Willis and Dixon Streets.
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Bus tour of ‘Secret Wellington’ – with expert guides
1:45 p.m – 5 p.m.
Sunday March 27
Trip to Tangimoana spybase.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The weekend will cost $30 waged (or $15 unwaged). Registration includes a seat on the bus for both trips. For further details and an e-registration form e-mail
chch [dot] planet [dot] org [dot] nz
– please register NOW.
- Freedom Of The Press Is Vital For Democratic Freedoms
. In speaking at the launch of David Robie’s book ‘Mekim Nius: South Pacific Media, Politics and Education’ on 24 February, Keith Locke emphasised the importance of Robie’s work both as a journalist and as a teacher of Pacific journalists with regard to the role ethical journalists can play in ensuring that informed democratic debate is possible. His speech is reproduced below.
”First I would like to pay tribute to David Robie, the author of Mekim Nius: South Pacific Media, Politics and Education, for his dedication to journalism in the Pacific.
I first met David when he was a freelance writer on Pacific issues and doing a fantastic job. We are very short of mass media journalists who take a Pacific-wide interest, covering a region that is so diverse in culture, language and politics – and so important to us.
I appreciate and acknowledge all those here in New Zealand who try to enlighten us about what is happening in the Pacific: journalists like Michael Field, or New Zealand Herald journalist Angela Gregory, the Radio New Zealand International journalists and the TVNZ journalists assigned to the Pacific.
Over the last several years David has shifted his great energy from freelance journalism to advancing indigenous Pacific journalism through the University of Papua New Guinea journalism programme, the USP journalism programme, and more recently here at AUT.
And on top of this, David has done a fantastic job with Pacific Media Watch, Café Pacific and the Asia-Pacific email network.
This book challenges New Zealand to do more to assist journalism courses in the Pacific. New Zealand does provide some scholarship money for people come here from the Pacific to do journalism, and New Zealand gives general support to the USP, but New Zealand has not given the specific support to journalism courses in the Pacific that, say AusAid and the French government, have.
David’s book is a tale of great achievements by many journalism teachers and students in Papua New Guinea and Fiji amid the difficulties over funding of the courses, and political pressure from those who don’t want good journalists to make them accountable to the people.
The work the student journalists in David’s courses did during the George Speight takeover of Parliament in May 2000 is an example for student journalists in this country – of going ahead and telling it like it is, even if there are physical and other dangers involved.
In the Pacific, journalists are in the front line of the struggle for free speech, more democracy and more accountability by officials and politicians.
David’s book is heartening in that the most serious challenges to free speech in Papua New Guinea and Fiji were beaten off, even though there is some way to go. Serious attacks on the press have been beaten back in other Pacific countries, like Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu.
It must have been exciting for David to be part of the development of journalism in the Pacific, because he was clearly among committed people, not just cynical journalists doing it for a job.
It is interesting that in a survey reported on in the book a third of the journalists in both PNG and Fiji saw themselves as part of nation-building. The term “development journalism” that David uses is apt.
It is quite a challenge, in the context of development journalism, to keep your objectivity and tell the truth, at the same time as respecting traditions and having, as an aim, assisting the development of your community. I see a lot of parallels with the Maori media here.
David’s book stresses the importance of students being inculcated with strong journalist ethics. I think it was this ethical strength, which carried over to important elements of university officialdom, that kept the PNG and Fiji journalism courses going, even when there was opposition to them and to David himself, from important figures in the university or the political establishment.
A strong ethical foundation among journalists is a key to stop any system of media regulation from drifting over into censorship. Journalists themselves have to be directly involved in any such regulation and David points out this has not always been the case in the Pacific.
Diversity in ownership of media is also important, and it is disturbing that Rupert Murdoch plays a major role in the print media in both Fiji and PNG. David points out how Murdoch’s Fiji Times was a bit soft in its coverage of the Speight coup.
One of the frustrating things for me reading in Mekim Nius about the achievements of the Pacific student journalists, and what they have achieved in their subsequent careers, is that we get so few of their articles coming through to our media.
Although, as I indicated earlier there are some good journalists on Pacific issues based here, as a country we are still not gaining a full understanding of what happens in the South Pacific.
French Polynesia is rightly in the news right now, and if Oscar Temaru and his party do get to run the government that will be a tremendous progressive development for the Pacific as a whole.
But how much have the people really taken in about the struggle of Maohi people of French Polynesia over the years, and the role that Oscar Temaru and his independent movement have played?
There is still a big challenge ahead for us to help the flowering of an independent media in the Pacific, and to improve our own media, so that New Zealanders can truly play our role as partners for progress in Pacific.
The speech is archived at
Mekim Nius: South Pacific Media, Politics and Education
and the details of the book are
Mekim Nius: South Pacific Media, Politics and Education
by David Robie.
ISBN 982 01 0584 6
Published by the USP Book Centre, University of the South Pacific)
306 pp. illus. index. bib.
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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