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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

ACT on Campus Annual Conference

What: ACT on Campus annual conference and retreat

When: 19th-21st January, 2007

Where: Remuera, Auckland

The 2007 annual ACT on Campus conference is looking to be an outstanding event. The conference will take place over the weekend of the 19th-21st of January.

Events include:

BBQ and drinks on Friday (19th) evening, from 7pm onwards

Interactive speeches and workshops on Saturday, including lunch

A Thai banquet dinner on Saturday night, featuring Rodney Hide

A chance to plan for 2007 for ACT on Campus members on Sunday

Speakers include:

David Henderson- Christchurch based property developer- on "Living by my Values".

Peter Creswell- infamous blogger and devout capitalist- on "Capitalism and Property Rights".

Emma Gibbs- former ACT board member and scientist extraordinaire.

Ann Marlowe- renowned New York based journalist and writer who has spent a lot of time working in Afghanistan.

Jack Edmonds-student- on "What's wrong with our schools?'

Additionally, workshops on teambuilding and political campaigning will be lead by Francis Denz and Ron Scott.

Please contact me at if you would like to register for some or all of the events.

Places are limited so register early.

All welcome!

New Zeal This will be an excellent event. It is open to young people who may not be current members of AOC, but are interested in learning more about the group's philosophy and activities.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Commie Cosmonauts Make Yet Another Attempt on Loudon's Life

David Farrar from Kiwi Blog reckons this spectacular shot shows astronauts working on the International Space Station while orbiting over the upper part of the South Island of New Zealand.

I'm not fooled though. I know its really an unmarked RUSSIAN satellite preparing to fire Gamma Death Rays at my house, which is situated just above the small peninsula shown in the bottom left of the photo.

Those commie bastards won't get me though. I'm just going out to cover my roof with colloidal silver impregnated newspapers.

It's guaranteed to foil any Gamma Ray attack. This is not their first attempt. The fact that I'm still writing this means I'm one step ahead of the Commie Cosmonauts.

Have a great Christmas. I'll see you all in a few d.........Aaaargh....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mounties Spied On Keifer's Granddaddy!

From Canadian Press

RCMP spies shadowed Tommy Douglas, the fabled Prairie politician, for more than three decades, from his early days as a young firebrand through a tumultuous tenure as NDP leader.

Douglas, a trailblazing socialist committed to social reform, drew the interest of RCMP security officers through his longstanding links with left-wing causes, the burgeoning peace movement and assorted Communist Party members.

The 1,142-page dossier, spanning nine volumes, was obtained by The Canadian Press from Library and Archives Canada under the Access to Information Act.

Widely hailed as the father of medicare for championing universal health services, the influential Saskatchewan politician was voted the greatest Canadian of all time in a popular CBC contest two years ago.

Daughter Shirley married fellow actor Donald Sutherland. Their son, Kiefer Sutherland, stars in the hit television series 24.

A Baptist minister, Douglas entered politics upon seeing the toll the Great Depression took on families.

It appears he first attracted the RCMP's attention in February 1939 when, as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation MP, Douglas urged a group of labourers in downtown Ottawa to push for legislation beneficial to the unemployed.

A few years later, Douglas became leader of Saskatchewan's Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, soon heading up the first socialist government in North America.

As premier, he ushered in public auto insurance, guaranteed hospital care and a provincial bill of rights.

The RCMP file reflects Douglas's interest in anti-war causes, including opposition to nuclear weapons and criticism of United Nations policy on Korea.

There are also occasional references to allegations that the CCF harboured members with Communist ties.

Douglas was chosen leader of the federal New Democratic Party in 1961 and served for 10 years. The rise to national prominence only fuelled interest in his political associations.

In late 1964, the RCMP received a letter alleging that Douglas had once been an active member of the Communist Party at the University of Chicago, where he had done postgraduate studies.

A top secret memo from a senior RCMP security officer to the force's deputy commissioner of operations indicates there was no reliable information to substantiate the tip.

"We have never asked the FBI for information on the matter because of Douglas' position as leader of a national political party."

In May 1965, a confidential source provided information for an account of Douglas's appearance at a Communist Party meeting in Burnaby, B.C.

Markings indicate Douglas's file is one of more than 650 secret dossiers the RCMP kept on Canadian politicians and bureaucrats as part of a project known as the "VIP program."

New Zeal The fact that the Mounties wouldn't ask the FBI for information on Douglas because of his position "as leader of a national political party" illustrates a problem seemingly common to most Western Intelligence Services.

That is, once a suspected security risk reaches a certain level of prominence, they become almost "untouchable".

The Intelligence Services, like any government department, exist largely at the mercy of their political masters.

Few Intelligence bosses are willing to risk their careers or their budget by exposing sitting Members of Parliament or prominent Party backers.

An acquaintance once told me of a conversation he had with an NZ Security Intelligence Service officer. The officer said, in reference to the 1984/90 Labour Government...

"The people we used to watch are now our bosses."

Little seems to have changed. There are several people in the NZ Government today who would not get a security clearance to clean latrines at the Waiouru Army Base.

Yet they are apparently safe from the prying eyes of the Intelligence Services.

That is a problem that needs addressing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Drug Freeland Part 2 Drugs and Kids

In part 1 of Drug Freeland I recounted how a debate over drug legalisation set me on the path to Libertarianism.

New Freeland

In my (non drug induced) higher state of awareness, I decided to imagine how drugs would fit into a truly free, Libertarian society. Would our dreamed of Land of New Zeal, our New Freeland simply turn out to be a degenerate, libertine, dope ridden cess pool?

Or would a free re-vitalised people be able to conquer the drug curse without the dubious help of the state?

Would this new society find new ways of reducing drug abuse, when freed of the socialist thinking that currently colours most people's outlook?

Would new, non governmental social structures and institutions arise to marginalise the drug user and give him reasons to abandon his habit?

Would other structures arise to help those who wanted to live drug free lives?

Below I list some changes that I believe must take place in order to create our New Freeland. I think that most, if not all of these changes should take place before we legalise drugs.

To me it is a matter of sequence. We are living in an unfree, highly socialist society. Many activities, both harmful and beneficial are currently proscribed by law.

If we legalise the harmful activities, such as drug taking, first, the damage done will not be borne solely by the doper. It will affect everyone as we are forced to pay for medical and psychiatric aid, counselling, methadone programs and the like.

This would tend to poison public attitudes towards Libertarian views as people would resent paying for the cost of personal vices.

I think we should concentrate first on changing our society so that the rewards of rational behaviour are the sole property of the originator and the penalties for folly are borne mainly by the fool.

These proposed changes would fundamentally alter society in a positive way while eliminating many of the "excuses" for drug abuse. They are fully consistent with Libertarian principles as I understand them.

Number One. The Re-Establishment of Parental "Ownership" of Children.

Many parents live in terror that their kids will become involved with drugs. They oppose any hint of drug legalisation, because they don't want to see their kid's lives ruined (even though they might have the odd joint themselves).

Because drug use is illegal most parents rely on the state to protect their children and leave it at that.

Very few go out of their way to find out about drugs or find out how to keep their kids away from them.

The current approach just isn't working, most kids can easily get drugs and often use them simply because they're forbidden.

In New Freeland drug use may still be regulated by age limits such as is currently the case with alcohol, legal agreements, film censorship and the like.

However I believe the real solution will lie with the strengthening of parental legal responsibility and "ownership" of children.

As legally non responsible beings, children will be "owned" by their parents and be taken responsibility for, as a farmer owns and is responsible for his stock.

Though the comparison might seem a bit offensive at first glance, children, are not able to govern themselves and must therefore be governed by another. If the parents don't do it, the State soon will.

So, I believe, that up to some arbitrary age, say 18, children will be the total legal responsibility of the the parent or guardian.

Currently, as long as you don't savagely beat or mistreat your kids you have little responsibility for their actions. Spurred on by subversive groups like the Youth Law Project and that mother of all abominations, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the trend is towards more fake rights for kids and fewer real rights for parents.

In New Freeland, this insidious trend will be reversed. Parents will have the right to discipline and direct their children as they see fit. They will home school, or send their kids to affordable private schools that teach the values and uphold the disciplinary standards desired by the parents.

Because their children are their "property" they will be able to invoke civil proceedings against anyone who in any way tries to introduce their kids to drugs.

They will have 100% legally enforceable control over who their children does or does not associate with.

Ownership however carries responsibilities. Allowing one's child to ingest toxic substances will constitute abuse and will be subject to severe legal penalties, including the possible loss of the child in question.

It may also result in legal action, if it can be proven that parental neglect or irresponsibility allowed a child to sustain drug induced damage. This might also apply to damage suffered in the womb, (after the legal abortion period) caused by parental drug intake.

This may help to reduce the disgusting sight of pregnant women walking out of bottle stores with a bottle of gin in one hand and a ciggie in the other.

In New Freeland, if your drug abuse in any way physically affects your child, before or after birth, or you give or allow your child access to toxic chemicals, you may face civil action, criminal prosecution or both.

Just as a farmer is liable if his stock eats his neighbour's cabbage crop, New Freeland parents will be legally liable for damage caused by their children. If you allow your 14 year old to mix with a bad crowd, sniff glue and burn down the local school, you will will be sent the $800,000 repair bill. If your 16 year old gets drunk and rides his motorbike through the neighbour's garden, likewise you'll wear the cost.

In New Freeland, most parents will probably take out "child insurance" to offset the cost of any mischief junior might get up to.

Parents who are obviously good citizens and parents, will pay low premiums. Parents who are negligent, have a history of criminality, drug abuse or delinquent children will pay very high premiums or get no insurance at all.

This will give irresponsible parents a choice. Either become good parents, pretty damn quick, or face a life of poverty and bankruptcy and the loss of your children.

Responsible child rearing in New Freeland will be a joy. Irresponsible breeding will not be so much fun.

Drugs and kids should mix a lot less than they do now.

Lewin for Labour in '08?

According to David Farrar at Kiwi Blog, Wellington Central Labour MP Marian Hobbs will not contest the 2008 General election.

David speculates that there will be keen competition for the nomination and mentions Grant Robertson and Phil Lewin as possible contenders.

Phil Lewin comes from an interesting family. His father, Jack Lewin was a highly controversial head of the Public Service Association in the '40s and a close associate of suspected Soviet spy, William Ball Sutch.

While not publicly known as such, Jack Lewin was a member of the Communist Party of New Zealand for several years. He was a member of the party by at latest, 1942. According to fellow Communist, Ron Smith, writing in his 1995 autobiography "Working Class Son", Lewin was elected as an alternate member of the Wellington District committee in 1943. Smith claims Lewin let his membership lapse, but continued to promote party policy in the PSA and work closely with party members.

Former People's Voice editor Dick Scott, claimed in his 2004 autobiography, "A Radical Writer's Life", that Jack Lewin was a member of the Party's security body, the Control Commission-a role reserved for only the most trusted of comrades.

I have been told that the Control Commission was only formed in 1948.

In 1954, Jack Lewin married his secretary, June Joblin. According to "Seeing Red" by former Security Intelligence Service agent, George Fraser, June Joblin was also a Communist Party member.

Later in life, Jack Lewin was identified with the Labour Party, but maintained his interest in communism until late in life. He died in 1990.

Philip Lewin shared his father's Labour sympathies. He served as both chairman and secretary of the Victoria University Labour Club in the late '70s.

Lewin gained a BA Hons (First Class) in English Studies from Victoria, an M Phil from Balliol College Oxford (Rhodes Scholarship), and a Diploma in Social Sciences from Massey University where he studied Economics.

After graduating, Philip Lewin entered the Foreign Affairs Department and by 1986 was head of the East European Affairs desk.

Lewin studied Russian in Australia and by the late '80s was second secretary in the New Zealand Embassy in Moscow.

He also served in Melbourne, Geneva, and in Washington where he dealt with WTO, APEC and dairy access issues. He was Deputy Director of the Trade Negotiations Division and New Zealand’s lead negotiator for the WTO GATS. He was also involved in negotiating NZ's Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with Singapore.

From 2001 to 2004, Lewin was chief executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Lewin became Chief Executive of Positively Wellington Business in January 2005 an organisation funded by the Wellington, Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Kapiti councils.

In March 2005 Phil Lewin was appointed by the Prime Minister Clark, as one of NZ's three ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council) representatives. He is also chairman of the NZ Trade Liberalisation Network and a board member of the NZ–USA Business Council. He is also a ministerial appointee to the Council of the Open Polytechnic of NZ.

Clearly a man to watch.

Who's Been a Naughty Boy Then?

From International Herald-Tribune

CARACAS, Venezuela: An international press-freedom group expressed concern Tuesday over suggestions by President Hugo Chavez's government that it may revoke the broadcast license of an opposition-aligned TV station.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a statement that if the government is threatening to take action against private broadcaster Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, "because it is an opposition network, then it is clearly a violation of editorial diversity."

Concessions held by some privately owned TV networks expire early next year, and Chavez during his recent campaign for re-election backed holding a national referendum on whether they should be renewed.

Reporters Without Borders said it was inappropriate to decide the future of the private broadcaster by referendum since RCTV's role as a media organization is not a question of governance.

"We call on the Venezuelan government to review its position," it said.

From KiwiBlog

Via Act on Campus Blog

The former Venezuelan representative to Transparency International has published a paper at Cato on how corruption is now rife in Venezuela. Some quotes:

The state-owned oil company ceased publishing its consolidated annual financial statements in 2003, and Chávez has created new state-run financial institutions, whose operations are also opaque, that spend funds at the discretion of the executive.

Corruption now permeates all levels of Venezuelan society. Bureaucrats now rarely follow existing bidding regulations, and ordinary citizens must pay bribes to accomplish bureaucratic transactions and have to suffer rampant neglect of basic government services. All this has been encouraged by a general environment of impunity: officers implicated in major corruption scandals have sometimes been removed from their posts, but they have not otherwise been held legally accountable.

According to the Venezuelan Central Bank, about $22.5 billion has been transferred to accounts abroad by the Chávez government since 2004. About $12 billion of that amount remains unaccounted for.

New Zeal Western leftists idolise this thug. As Chavez consolidates his power and his Cuban trained secret police become more and more repressive, the true nature of "Chavism" will become apparent.

The Western left has consistently lionised murderers and tyrants, from Lenin and Stalin, to Mao, Pol Pot and Hoxha.

When will they wake up to Chavez? When will they discard him like the rest? Who will they brownnose next?

Who's Been a Good Boy Then?

From David Farrar's KiwiBlog

Peter Dunne has produced his annual list of the worst behaving MPs. This is based just on getting ejected from the House or forced to withdraw and apologise.

Nick Smith tops the list with five expulsions and six apologies for 21 points. Nats also come in 2nd and 3rd with Tau Henare on 14 points and Gerry Brownlee on 12.
The next ones are Winston Peters (11), Trevor Mallard 9), Dover Samuels (9), Bill English (9) and David Bennett (9).

Most improved is Rodney Hide who won it in 2005 and doesn't feature this year.

Is there no end to this man's self transformation?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Drug Freeland Part 1

Recent publicity around the murders of five drug addicted English prostitutes has spurred me on to re-vamp an article I wrote for the Free Radical back in the mid '90s

I wrote it shortly after my conversion from conservatism to libertarianism. It's a bit raw, but I hope it provokes some debate.

Confessions of a Conservative

I hate drugs. A few months ago I believed in the total and vigorous suppression of illegal drugs by the state. When Singaporean authorities executed two Australian heroin smugglers a few years ago, I applauded. When the New Zealand government started seizing the assets of local marijuana growers, I cheered. When a close relative was jailed for possessing a carload of cannabis, I totally supported the police.

Nor was I one of those wimpy liberals who believes in nailing the dealers, but rehabilitating the poor users. I regarded the users as the real villains. The dealers, scum that they are, take real risks to make a buck. The users support the trade with their money, but face little but a fine or light sentence if caught. I believed mere possession of dope warranted a long jail sentence.

My contempt for the drug trade was not limited to the illegal variety. I always voted for prohibition of alcohol at every General Election referendum. I refused to do work for the alcohol and tobacco industries. I was a total teetotaller and had no qualms about making everybody else the same way.

I believed that to deliberately ingest a toxic chemical, with the express purpose of blotting out or altering one's perception of reality was an unconscionable sin.

Though sympathetic to Libertarianism in economics and most other areas I was vehemently opposed to what I regarded as the movement's weak attitude towards drugs.
I saw drugs as a curse, a threat to the security of our society and the wellbeing of everyone in it.

I was conservative with a capital K when it came to mind affecting chemicals.
Now, weeks later I am a complete convert to the cause of drug legalisation. Not just marijuana mind you. Everything. Heroin, cocaine, LSD, barbiturates, uppers, downers, crack, ecstasy, peyote, mescaline, betel nuts, magic mushrooms and datura. The lot.

Conversion of a Conservative

Now, I believe the state has absolutely no place in regulating what substances any adult may wish to place in or on his or her body.

Why the change? Did someone slip a tab in my organic orange juice? Did I see God on my TV screen? Did I reach nirvana in a smoke filled room?

No, I still hate drugs, it's just that now I'm a Libertarian.

The conversion began in a conservation in a bakery, with longtime Libertarian and non drug user, Dave Henderson. His logic forced me to recognise the inconsistency of my views and the underlying socialist premises they were based on.

Who was I to want to protect fools from the consequences of their own folly?

Wasn't it arrogant and paternalistic to want to enforce my views on others via the state?

Doesn't the present state repression of drug abuse actually release people from the responsibility of directly confronting and handling the problem?

Like all socialist "solutions", doesn't state control actually worsen the problem it purports to solve?

Wouldn't a free, capitalist and responsible society be better able to confront and deal with the drug issue?

Aren't social problems best handled by leaving things to the individual?

Shortly after, I read US writer Mark Skousen's excellent essay "Persuasion versus Force" and my conversion to Libertarianism was complete.

Will Loony Left Re-Capture British Labour?

If you think Tony Blair has purged the loony left from the British Labour Party, think again.

Not only is the loony left alive and twitching, but is running a serious candidate to take over the Labour party leadership when Tony Blair steps down next year.

The left's favoured son is MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell.

According to Wikipedia;

McDonnell was born the son of a docker and shopworker. He attended Brunel University and received his Masters' degree from Birkbeck, University of London.

In 1981, McDonnell was elected Greater London Council councillor for Hayes and Harlington. He was also Ken Livingstone's deputy leader, but the two had a spectacular disagreement in 1985.... Livingstone removed him and his supporters from their posts.

In the United Kingdom general election, 1997, he was elected to Parliament with 62% of the vote and a 13,000 majority.

He has voted against controversial Government policies such as the 2003 Iraq war, Foundation hospitals, student top-up fees, Trust Schools and anti-terror laws.

In May 2003 he praised the IRA, saying "It's about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have now is due to the action of the IRA".

He later said that the "deaths of innocent civilians in IRA attacks is a real tragedy, but it was as a result of British occupation in Ireland. Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands we now have a peace process."

McDonnell appeals to the large segment of the British left that still believes Labour is still salvageable for socialism. That segment emcompasses not just leftist Labourites and trade unions, but also several of Britain's Marxist-Leninist organisations.

According to Wikipedia

McDonnell chairs the Labour Representation Committee, a left-wing group of Labour activists, local parties, trade unions and MPs which campaigns for the adoption of a raft of socialist policies by the Labour Government. The group was founded on Saturday 3 July 2004 and currently has over 800 members and 90 affiliates.

The aim of the LRC is to set up socialist groups at every level of the Labour Party to confront "New Labour", oppose the war in Iraq, and resist privatisation and job cuts.

On 14 July 2006, McDonnell announced he would stand to be leader of the Labour Party when Tony Blair announces his resignation. He called for "a challenge to the present political consensus" and a "a real Labour government based upon the policies that our supporters expect from us

On 22 July 2006, the annual conference of the Labour Representation Committee unanimously endorsed John McDonnell's leadership bid. The conference was attended by 400 Labour Party members and trade unionists.

McDonnell is setting his campaign as to give the Labour Party back it's 'soul'. He is relying on party members and Trades unionists affiliated with voting rights to the Labour Party to back his idea of '21st century socialism'.

McDonnell wants British troops to be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan and form closer links to other socialist countries. McDonnell's first stated policy would be to renationalise British Transport.

McDonnell's call for "21st Century socialism" echoes that of Venezuela's Marxist President, Hugo Chavez. This is not surprising as McDonnell is open about his socialism and even his ties to the Marxist-Leninist left.

Comrade McDonnell (right) speaking at the Communist party of Britain's November 2006 Communist University of Britain in Croydon

McDonnell is openly backed by the hardline Communist Party of Britain.

According to a recent statement on the CPB's website;

TUC general council member Anita Halpin (CPB Chairwoman)insisted that the labour movement needed an election not a coronation.

She said that unions should cast their block votes on the basis of a membership ballot and that they should not support a candidate who doesn¹t back their union policies.

'On these grounds, the only candidate to support must be John McDonnell,' she said.

McDonnell is also supported by the even more hardcore, pro North Korean, New Communist Party of Britain, which is an is an affiliate of McDonnell's Labour Representation Committee.

The third main British Marxist-Leninist group, the Communist Party of Great Britain is also showing a strong interest in McDonnell's campaign.

From the October 26th 2006 issue of Weekly Worker.

Owen Jones of the campaign to elect John McDonnell to succeed Tony Blair spoke to the Weekly Worker...

This election will be decided on the votes of the Labour Party and the trade union movement. I will give you an idea of how things stand with the unions. Weekly Worker readers may well be aware that a poll of delegates at the TUC - conducted by the electoral reform society, I emphasise, not us - found that 59% of them supported McDonnell and only 9% supported Gordon Brown.

Trade union branches up and down the country have been passing resolutions backing the campaign and encouraging their members to either sign up to the affiliated political fund or, better, to join the Labour Party, which they have been doing in very considerable numbers.

T&G Broad Left have also been organising the campaign in their union quite effectively. So, overall, in the trade union section, we are doing very well indeed. In terms of the party itself, we have been addressing branches nationally. Huge numbers of one-time and never-before members have been contacting us to say they are joining up in order to vote for John...

So it looks as though this campaign is increasingly gaining momentum and has a groundswell of support - and not just from the people coming back to the party. Despite the haemorrhaging of socialists from our ranks over the past period... Labour Party councillors are among those who have been organising meetings across the country for John - they are acutely aware they face electoral defeat if the government continues to alienate Labour voters through the disastrous policies of war, cuts and privatisation.

If this is a successful campaign, it will provide a massive opening for the left. An opening of the sort that we have not seen for an entire generation. It will take place in the situation where the political leadership of the labour movement has swung so far to the right, in which the balance of forces have been pushed so far in favour of our enemies, that even the very notion of an alternative to capitalism has been discredited, especially since the collapse of Stalinism.

After three decades of reaction, where our movement has been broken and demoralised, in this situation, if this campaign gains momentum, it will be an historic victory for the entire left. The first victory of any significance for a generation, I would go as far as to say.

I doubt that McDonnell will win. I am even more doubtful that he could lead Labour to victory over the Tories in any general election.

What McDonnell's campaign has proven however is that Labour's left is far from dead. It has also shown that it has no qualms about co-operating with Britain's most extreme Marxist-Leninist elements.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Communism, Conyers and Congress

Rep John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is one of the most powerful men in the US Congress.

He is also arguably the Communist Party USA's best friend in the US government.

So what. Who cares about a few old commies in this day and age?

In a recent post How Communist Parties Influence Your Government I detailed how parties like the CPUSA routinely and covertly, influence government policy.

In a nutshell, a communist party will develop a policy then use sympathisers and or covert members in a mainstream political party to get the proposal passed into law.

The Communist Party USA has several sympathisers in the US government it seems to use for such purposes.

The article below is a very good example of a senior Democrat promoting what is essentially Communist Party policy. I add some commentary in explanation.

From the very latest issue of the Communist Party USA's Political Affairs

PA Detroit, Michigan (12-15-06) – Appearing at a town hall meeting in Detroit, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) called for a "new American agenda" for the next session Congress. Conyers discussed a wide range of issues from the war in Iraq to the economy, health care, and the impeachment of President Bush. He declared the new session of Congress, set to begin on January 4, 2007, a "brand new start after 12 years" of disastrous rule by the Republican Party.

"You are now being addressed by Chairman John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee,"
Conyers told an overflowing audience at the University of Detroit Mercy. He promised to use his authority and influence to help reverse the irresponsible lack of congressional oversight by the Republican-controlled House of the President on issues such as the war and the abuse of civil liberties.

Conyers proceeded to discuss his opinion on a number of major issues that he intended to address from his new position in Congress. He cited D.C. statehood as one of the first items on the list.

New Zeal DC statehood has been a CPUSA policy for years. Why? Because every state gets two Senators. Predominantly black Washington DC votes overwhelmingly Democrat and is a stronghold of the CPUSA influenced "progressive" movement. If DC gets statehood, this would almost certainly mean two more Democrat Senators. This would make it more likely for the CPUSA infiltrated Democrats to win future Senate elections.

PA Conyers also chastised the Bush administration for its hostility for international law and treaties. Citing the administration’s efforts to undermine the Geneva Conventions, its refusal to follow guidelines in treaties signed by the U.S. regarding nuclear disarmament, and its mishandling of "genocide issues," Conyers argued, "Without international law the planet can not go on, and we can not make an attempt to address and control war and divisions that exist in the world today."

Conyers announced that he and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) intended to re-introduce a bill in the House that would create a cabinet level Department of Peace. "Somebody on the national level," Conyers noted, "has to be studying how to make peace."

Conyers also congratulated Kucinich on his announced intention to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Conyers said that Kucinich would be the "most progressive candidate" in the field.

New Zeal Kucinich, together with Barbara Lee is the CPUSA's other "best friend in Congress".

I quote from the Peoples Weekly World of 15th March 2003

On July 11, 2001, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced HR 2459, a bill that called for the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Peace. On his website, Kucinich states “violence at home, in the schools, in the media, and between nations has dragged down humanity. It’s time to recognize that traditional, militant objectives for peace are not working, and the only solution is to make peace the goal of a cabinet level agency.” The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness, where its life was ended in the 107th Congress.

The bill had 44 sponsors, most, if not all, members of the Progressive Caucus. One of the more outspoken sponsors of the bill was Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who represents the Berkeley and Oakland areas. Lee stated that “the establishment of this new Federal agency will provide us with the tools and resources necessary to move towards peace in our communities and worldwide.” Lee later received national attention for being the only representative in Congress to vote against giving Bush unlimited powers in the war against terrorism.

PA In addition to these major issues, Conyers promised that his committee would open investigations of a number of concerns raised under Republican control of the House over the course of the Bush presidency.

He said his committee would reexamine major abuses of civil liberties such as the PATRIOT Act and the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Congress has the duty to "cut the PATRIOT Act down to size" and to "cut back Bush's power grab."

Conyers refused to introduce articles of impeachment, saying that such a move required much more popular support, a bipartisan effort in Congress, and a stronger Democratic majority to accomplish.

New Zeal I quote Tim Wheeler of the National Committee the Communist Party USA speaking at a recent gathering of 62 communist parties in Lisbon.

Republican loss of the House means that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich), a leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, a former Detroit auto worker, will become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. His legislation calling for a full investigation of Bush and his decision to invade Iraq can now go forward. Conyers also introduced a “Resolution of Inquiry” on possible grounds for impeaching Bush and Cheney.

Conyers has been under pressure from his colleagues in the CPUSA linked Progressive Democrats of America, to impeach President Bush, but at this stage will only push for a more limited investigation of the president.

PA He called for revamping foreign policy efforts, opening talks with regional powers in the Middle East, talks with North Korea and China rather than confrontation, and for the U.S. "to take the lead on disarmament."

New Zeal No prizes for guessing who else supports such a stance towards China, North Korea and certain "Middle Eastern powers".

PA Conyers added support for proposed reforms that would address global warming, protections for pensions, and a Constitutional amendment being offered by Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) that would make health care a right.

In closing, Rep. Conyers called for "a people's agenda" that provides "jobs, justice, and peace."

New Zeal I quote Joelle Fishman, chair of the Communist Party USA’s political action commission, in Peoples Weekly World 2nd December 2006

The people’s election victory Nov. 7, Fishman said, shows “our country needs a larger and stronger Communist Party with vibrant clubs in the neighborhoods and workplaces connected to the issues and struggles that will move the people’s agenda forward.”

Need I go on?

US Congresswoman at Communist Function

Several members of the US Congress are very close to the Communist Party USA, most are also members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Some of the most prominent include reps , Dennis Kucinich , John Conyers and Barbara Lee.

Barbara Lee is particularly blatant, in the early '90s even serving on the executive of a CPUSA breakaway group, the Committees of Correspondence.

Lee has clearly kissed and made up with the CPUSA since then. Her activities are regularly covered in the CPUSA's Peoples Weekly World and Political Affairs.

Lee's links with the CPUSA continue today. I quote from the People's Weekly World of December 14th 2006

PWW Events Salute People’s Leaders

Dec. 3 was a day the People’s Weekly World can be proud of. Still celebrating the results of the Nov. 7 elections, readers held banquets and dinners in various places across the country, attracting elected officials, leaders of people’s movements and rank-and-file fighters for justice and democracy.

A highlight of the Northern California banquet in Oakland was hearing former Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney, now an energetic 95. He told the multigenerational, multiracial audience about the years-long struggle to integrate Major League Baseball, leading up to Jackie Robinson’s first appearance with the Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947.

Calling Robinson “a great American hero,” Rodney, who anchored the Worker’s sports desk from 1936 to 1958, told how Robinson, despite abuse including from opposing players, led his team to the pennant — a feat Rodney called “the most amazing and courageous feat in the history of American sports.”

“Jackie Robinson changed baseball, and when you’ve changed baseball in this country, you’ve changed this country!” said Rodney.

Other honored guests included anti-nuclear-weapons leader Jackie Cabasso, the Blue Diamond Workers Organizing Committee and two Sacramento-based immigrant rights coalitions. All received certificates from U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee as well as from Friends of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Is the Soviet Union Coming Back?

Many in the world anti-communist movement (including this writer) are concerned that the 15 year "thaw" in Russia is drawing to a close.

Seemingly, the "best" we can hope for is a semi-fascist Russia, with some private production, monitored by an authoritarian government.

China with more snow and fewer bicycles.

The worst case scenario would be the re-assertion of communist control and a reborn and revolutionary, Soviet Union.

Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the best sources of news on the new reality in Russia.

OUATITW's latest post is a magnum opus on the state of politics in Russia, particularly the communist movement which is growing increasingly powerful and assertive.

The Moscow Times reported on August 2, 2005: "Jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky warned in his first missive since he received a nine-year prison sentence that unless the current authoritarian regime made way for a leftist, social-democratic alternative, huge upheaval was inevitable." Khodorkovsky confidently affirmed in one of his letters from prison: "The leftists will win anyway. They'll win democratically in full accordance with the free will of the majority of the electorate . . . with or without elections. The turn to the left will take place. The post-Soviet authoritarian project in Russia has exhausted its resources."

Here we see the shallow and purposely deceptive nature of Russia's post-Soviet "capitalists." Much as Latin America's "ex"-communist-terrorists have taken over the region through the ballot box, the restored CPSU intends to do the same, creating an aura of legitimacy that it lacked in the past.

In October 2005 Yabloko’s Grigory Yavlinksky and Nikita Belykh, referred to "the political heirs of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, who appeared and continue to appear on the scene under different names, but have always represented de facto a united bureaucratic nomenclature belonging to the same "clan” United, indeed. The Soviet communists have never abandoned their totalitarian project nor their intention to export Leninist revolution overseas.

According to the party's own information, the CPRF has 580,000 members in 2,362 local and 17,500 primary organizations, and attracts more than 18,000 new members each year.

OUATITW believes that the communists plan to win the 2008 presidential election and then will begin the re-assert Soviet power.

It is obvious to any objective observer,that if the myriad communist parties currently active in Russia were to unify their efforts, no political force could match them. They could assume power now. That they do not is probably more a matter of strategy than ability.

I am not quite so bold as to predict that this will occur in 2008, but I will be surprised if does not occur in the next few years.

The West needs to face reality. Russia is not our friend, she is China's friend now.

That is not a nice thing to contemplate, but it is a reality.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Communists Coming Back in 2007?

In the extremely unlikely event of Dennis Kucinich winning the US presidency in 2008, he might find himself working with communists, not just at home, but abroad.

Speaking at the November gathering of 64 communist parties in Lisbon, a Russian Communist leader called on foreign parties to help ensure the Communists have the best possible chance in the 2007 elections.

From the CPUSA's Peoples Weekly World

Gennadi Zyuganov, chair of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, urged communist and workers’ parties to send observers to monitor elections to the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, to help expose elements intent on stealing the election in 2007.

We will mark the 90th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution next year,” Zyuganov said. “We are planning to meet this anniversary with energetic preparations for the elections. Your participation in the celebration of this great date will be a contribution to our struggle.”

Comrade Dennis for President!

One of the Communist Party USA's best friends in in Congress, Dennis Kucinich, is running for President in 2008.

From the CPUSA's Peoples Weekly World

There are 98 weeks until voters go to the polls to elect a new U.S. president and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich plans use all 98 to turn up the heat to end the Iraq war and occupation in his bid for president. He announced his candidacy for president on Dec. 12.

In his 2004 bid for the Democratic nomination for president, Kucinich not only pounded the streets for peace, including by his advocacy of a national Peace Department, but also promoted a single-payer health care system.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Public More Accepting of Private Health Role

In socialist NZ, the private health sector has traditionally been the preserve of the rich.

The accelerating deterioration of the public health sector is causing the middle class to re-think their attitude towards "going private".

From a press release by ACT MP, Heather Roy.

“Figures released today by the Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ) show a growing acceptance by Kiwis that the public health system can’t deal with all the health needs of the nation" said ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy.

“Monitoring by HFANZ shows a continuing trend of increased uptake of health insurance – 1.36 million New Zealanders now have health insurance of some kind. This is an increase of 11,000, or 1% on last year."

“Despite the Labour Government constantly implying that health care should be provided by the State, New Zealanders are becoming increasingly aware of the need to take responsibility for their own health care. The advantages of the private health system are blatantly obvious. Government provided health care can never cope with every health need.

“The Government’s purging of waiting lists, sending patients back to their GPs, and the constant cancellation of elective surgery for patients in pain and suffering are taking their toll on the health of our population. Through private health insurance, people are able to access timely and efficient care. This is an acceptable solution to the increasing health needs and demands of kiwis.

“District Health Boards are told by Labour to provide health care “inhouse” at public hospitals as a priority and for too long the advantages of contracting treatment privately has been ignored for philosophical reasons.

“Those who are able to buy private insurance jump waiting list queues by going private, while those unable to afford private health care are left to wait. The government has a duty to provide the best quality treatment in the best time at the best cost and it should look to the private sector when this is the best option. Anything less is a dereliction of the duty Labour was elected to
”, Mrs Roy said.

The KGBisation of Russia

Publius Pundit carries an excellent post on takeover of Russia by current and former members of the KGB.

Not even in Soviet days did the Russian security services enjoy the power they do today.

Check out to full post here. It is well worthwhile.

Analyst Pavel Simonov traces the KGB’s return to power in Russia back to 1998, when “a former non-staff assistant of Andropov, the ex-head of Foreign Intelligence, Evgeny Primakov, headed the government. The following spring the former chief of FSB (main successor of the KGB), Sergey Stepashin, replaced him.

In parallel, representatives of the democratic camp had almost disappeared from governmental structures; the foreign policy of the state was turning back to the traditional Soviet course. In the autumn of 1999, a former officer of the KGB and ex-director of FSB, Vladimir Putin, became the new head of the cabinet.”

Under Putin, the transition to KGB rule has proceeded with alarming speed, so that today “one study has concluded that 78% of leading political figures, heads of departments of the Presidential administration, all members of the government and members of both chambers of parliament, heads of federal structures and heads of executive power and legislature in regions, somehow in their career have been connected with the KGB or the organizations that had come to replace it.” A stunning 26% of the group actually admits openly to prior KGB service.

Reform of the KGB never really happened. The organization was broken into several agencies in the early 1990s, but the reforms were abandoned,especially after [Vladimir] Putin became president. The KGB’s capacity to be a political organization is back. And unlike the Soviet era, the secret services are now in full power.

[Putin] was a lieutenant colonel in the FSB [the KGB’s successor agency] and all his major associates and deputies in the Kremlin are former KGB employees. Major Russian monopolies such as Gazprom and the railroad monopoly are controlled by former KGB agents. Overall, some 6,000 former or current intelligence officers are in the executive [branch] and legislature.

Shortly after his election as Russian President in 2000, Vladimir Putin was driven to the headquarters of the former KGB in central Moscow to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the Soviet secret police. The former KGB colonel, a Soviet-era spy in East Germany who later reached the pinnacle of the security services by becoming the first civilian director of the KGB’s domestic successor organisation, the FSB, was returning to his spiritual home.

Inside the Lubyanka, the new Kremlin leader addressed 300 of the former KGB’s finest. “Instruction number one of the attaining of full power has been completed,” he dead-panned. Six years on, Mr Putin’s joke looks more like a statement of fact. The poisoning of the ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, which according to at least one Russian commentator has cast relations with the West back to the days of the Cold War, has placed Mr Putin’s links to his former FSB colleagues under fresh scrutiny.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Even Socialists Love Santa

Who says socialists are no fun?

Socialist Worker invites you to a revolutionary rave-up!

From Indymedia

Join the Revolutionary Party!

You are invited to the Revolutionary Party

This Saturday from 7pm at the Socialist Centre
86 Princes Street

(big mural of Santa Marx on the Red Wall- Kid u not)

To celebrate a year of struggle and to look forward to the upcoming fight

Live music from
Daph Lawless
Kane Forbes
Roger Fowler

and special guests

Dress- a subculture of your choice from those revolutionary decades that have gone before-

come as a punk, a goth, a 60s radical, a Bolshevik or an anarchist with a little round bomb! Weimar Germany anyone?

Sleeping and parking provided so get as decadently drunk as you like!


Happy MarXmas


Pacific Revolutionaries Re-building Networks

Auckland University student Omar Hamed (Radical Youth, Students for Justice in Palestine) was recently in New Caledonia attending the conference of one of the Pacific's most militant unions.

Between the fourth and the sixth of December the Union of Kanaky and Exploited Workers (USTKE) held their 12th Congress and celebrated their 25th anniversary in a large hall outside Noumea. Over the three days of the Congress around 500 USTKE delegates and militants from across Kanaky/New Caledonia came together to report on the progress of the union and the new directions for the USTKE in 2007.

On the second night of the Congress, an international meeting was held. A range of speakers spoke about the continued struggle for socialism and decolonisation across the world.

Speakers came from Corsica, Guinea, Tahiti and France.

Bernard from the French League of Communist Revolutionaries, talked of how the LCR were the first political organisation in France to organize in support of Kanak independence

Libyan trained, Jose Bove, from the Confederation Paysanne spoke on;

the new tide of rebellion in Latin America and of how the victory of Evo Morales heralds a new turn for the health of Bolivia...

The Red Tide in Latin America is indeed having its effect throughout the third world. According to Omar Hamed;

Pierre Chauvat of the USTKE told me frankly that they want a Kanak Chavez or a Kanak Morales who will be able to take the struggle against colonialism both new and old into the new millennium. The USTKE preparing for a long struggle both industrially and politically even though they are told to keep out of politics by many of the ruling elite.

They are also training their young militants for the new struggle so that they can continue the fight against colonisation. Pierre Chauvat is adamant that rebuilding a network of struggle across the Pacific is a high priority and building links with activists and unions in Australia and Aotearoa is important to cement the bonds of solidarity and struggle needed to free Kanaky from the iron grip of colonisation.

Omar's playing with the big boys now.

Is Bishop Barry a Bit Bolshie?

While not religious, I do try to follow church "politics" a little.

Christchurch has had a bit of a bad run with Catholic Bishops. Back in the'80s we had bishop Ashby. known as the "Red Bishop", Ashby was on board with all the socialist causes, particularly the anti Springbok Tour Movement.

We then had the comparitively "conservative", Bishop Meeking. We then went backwards with another left leaning, left footer, Bishop John Cunneen.

Bishop Cunneen was an ally of the late Marxist priest, John Curnow, probably the most subversive NZ cleric in modern times.

In October, another Curnow ally tok over the top job. Barry Jones was ordained by his predecessor, John Cunneen as the Coadjutor Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch.

Barry Jones is

A member of the Council of Priests and of the Bishop's College of Consultors for the diocese, he is a member of the Christchurch Commission for Justice and Peace, and for fifteen years worked in the diocesan Maori Mission. Before moving to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament as Administrator in 2003, he was Director of Good Shepherd House, responsible for the preparation and formation of young men accepted by the Bishop for seminary training.

In addition he was a founding member of the New Zealand Bishops' Gender Issues Committee, and served on the Social Justice Committee for Caritas.

Justice and Peace is of course the radical cuckoo in the Church nest, while Caritas is the Church's organ for channelling parishioners money to "politically suspect" overseas groups and causes.

Bishop Jones is an advocate of "Liberation Theology", a subversive teaching increasingly influential in the Catholic Church, particularly in the Philippines and Latin America.

Liberation Theology is basically Marxism dressed up as Christianity.

In November 1986, Barry Jones and Auckland ultra radical priest, Fr Bernard Dennehy, wrote some articles for Peacelink magazine, specifically dealing with Liberation Theology.

I quote from Fr Jones' article "Liberation Theology-An Introduction"

"It (Liberation Theology) explicitly affirms that religion and politics go together...

It uses concepts taken from Marx, to explain and illuminate-not because he is an oracle, but because the concepts actually do explain and illuminate."

Silly old me. I thought a Catholic priest would be relying on the bible and church teachings for guidance. Not some 19th century atheist who has inspired the murder of millions, including not a few Christians.

Maybe I'm just too old fashioned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

60,000 Hits

Closing in on you, Andrew Falloon

Heather Roy on Labour's Mindset

ACT MP Heather Roy in Parliament yesterday;

Why does this Government have such a problem with two consenting adults freely engaging in capitalist acts for their mutual self-benefit?

US Communist Build Relations With Vietnam

From the CPUSA's Peoples Weekly World

US communist leader believes in Vietnam's success

Chairman Sam Webb made the remark when he was received by CPV General Secretary Nong Duc Manh in Hanoi on December 11.

He said Vietnam's achievements are significant to all people in the world who have been fighting for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress.

The US communist leader reassured the Vietnamese people that his party would lead further ahead with its support for Vietnam's revolutionary cause, the relationship and co-operation between the States and the peoples of the two countries, while raising voice about the US Government's responsibility for compensation for the aftermaths of the Vietnam war.

General Secretary Manh expressed his gratitude for the valuable support and friendship that the communists and other people in the US have expressed towards the Vietnamese people in their national liberation cause in the past and their current national construction and defence programmes.

He affirmed the Vietnamese Party and State's consistent policy of shelving the past and looking towards the future in its relations with the US, boosting friendly relations and tight co-operation between the two countries in a spirit of constructive friendship, long-term stability, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, equality and mutual benefits.

During the same day, the US delegation had a working session with a CPV delegation led by Nguyen Van Son, member of the CPV Central Committee and Head of the CPVCC's Commission for External Affairs.

The two sides exchanged views concerning international and regional issues of common concern, and discussed measures to strengthen the liaisons between the two Parties as a step towards further boosting the co-operation between the two countries.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Are Socialists Psychos?

Spirit of 76 asked

In terms of the Western countries, where do all of these commies come from ? Who indoctrinates them ? When I was a union delegate 12 years ago, hearing Karl Andersen spout his beliefs, I honestly thought he was taking the piss ! Why do people still adhere to a political system that has done nothing apart from advertise itself as an abject failure ?

These are questions that have interested me for a long time. Ever since I was a bit pink myself, I've wondered why many intelligent people can invest their whole lives into a project that is so clearly nonsensical.

I remember a conversation with US former socialist Tammy Bruce, when she visited NZ last year.

I asked Tammy exactly why she thought people devoted their lives to socialism.

Tammy, had been at the pinnacle of the US left/feminist establishment. She knew hundreds of senior socialists. She is a lesbian, who herself had a pretty tough upbringing and her share of personal tragedy.

Tammy's theory was that socialists tend to be "damaged" people and/or misfits.

They are people on the "outside"-whether through personality defects, such as intense jealousy and envy, a deep sense of inadequacy or something that sets them apart from the "mainstream", homosexuality, physical disability, belonging to a persecuted minority etc.

Most of us have some of those or other problems in our lives. We try to cope, to overcome our shortcomings and get on with our lives.

Others can't handle the thought that they are the odd one out, or that they should work to address their personal faults.

Socialism appeals to such people, because socialism claims that all problems are caused by external factors and can be addressed, not by confronting oneself, but by altering the world.

In other words, socialists tend to be damaged people who are driven to "fit in" by changing the world to suit their particular shortcomings.

They want to make the fit their faults-not as most of us do, try to fix our own shortcomings first.

Socialism, is in short a manifestation of mental illness or major character deficiency.

This is perhaps why universities are the main recruiting ground for socialism these days.

At university you can theorise a better world according to any preference you like.

In the real world of the marketplace, bad ideas lead to heartache and bankruptcy. In universities they lead to tenure, overseas conferences, fawning syncophants and good salaries.

I remember one US socialist saying something like "communism is a system of political economy-not a character deficiency".

I think he was 100% wrong. What do others think?

Venezuela's Left Vote Well Up

From a report by US Communist observers on the recent Venezuelan election.

From the CPUSA's Political Affairs 11.12.06

Rummel's delegation of US Communists also met with representatives of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), which endorsed Chávez for president. In Venezuela's system of voting, voters select candidates by picture and by party symbol.

While more than two dozen political parties endorsed Chávez, PCV received more than 335,000 votes, making it the fourth largest party on the left. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the PCV received only about 119,000.

Chávez's party, the Fifth Republic Movement, won more than 4.5 million of the 7.2 million votes cast for Chávez.

Chávez won majorities in every state and the capitol district, including major opposition candidate Manuel Rosales' home state of Zulia.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Prebble Off Key?

Former ACT leader, Richard Prebble isn't quite as complimentary about new National leader, John Key, as he has been.

From The Letter

John Key has publicly rejected dropping race based policies, rejoining ANZUS, has embraced Kyoto, talked of increasing social spending and has re instated PC by appointing a woman’s affairs spokesman. National has given up the high ground on election funding. While John Key says he favours tax cuts he has made Bill English his finance spokesman who has publicly questioned the connection between tax cuts and growth and as finance minister did not promote free enterprise solutions.

History lesson

It is worth remembering that National has tried the me-too policy before, in the 2002 election, and the result? The worst defeat in the parties history. National tried a clear policy choice last election. The result? The best result for National for 15 years.

Winning strategy

Don’s Orewa speech galvanized National’s base and attracted new members and support. Muldoon showed that the one thing worse than a Labour government is a National-Labour government. National’s leadership seems to be saying that it is willing to enter into a coalition with the Maori party who split with Labour because there were some race based policies even Labour would not adopt. Turia called in a recent speech for other races to have separate representation in parliament!

Bomber Bert?

In my last post, the late former Russian Intelligence officer, Alexander Litvinenko named several political activists trained by the Russians in sabotage and terrorism techniques.

NZers should not be surprised to know that several locals have also allegedly undergone military and/or sabotage training behind the "former" Iron Curtain.

One who claimed to have trained in sabotage techniques and bomb making in the Soviet Union, was the late, Albert (Bert) Shipp.

A railwayman, Shipp joined the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party in 1967, one year after its foundation.

By 1971, Shipp was secretary of the Wellington branch of the Railway Tradesman's Association. In the '80s he rose to national president of the organisation.

In 1980 Shipp appeared on PM Rob Muldoon's list of SUP members active in the union movement.

By 1976 Shipp was Wellington Branch secretary of the SUP and a highly trusted comrade. It was probably shortly after this that he travelled to the Soviet Union.

Certainly, by the early '80s Shipp was a member of the much smaller Lower Hutt branch of the '80s. Maybe the intimacy of the tiny branch lead him to drop his guard as Shipp regularly breached party security.

Shipp often boasted to his comrades of the 12 months he had spent in the Soviet Union, training full time on bomb making, sabotage and terrorism techniques.

He was certainly believed by his comrades who were most impressed by his stories. His credibility was probably enhanced when he revealed the name of another comrade who had undergone similar training.

This man had a well deserved reputation as a thug and was later jailed for violent offending.

NZ was regarded as a propaganda vehicle by the Soviets (the anti nuclear stand being the prime example), rather than a country on the brink of violent revolution.

However Bert Shipp's intimate knowledge of the capital's rail system, would have made him an ideal saboteur, had NZ ever slipped into a pre-revolutionary state, or a political point needed to be made.

Shipp died, a relatively young man, in 1990.

Fortunately his claimed skills went unused, except possibly here.

Is Russia Backing Al Qaeda?

Sometimes the simplest explanations are the most truthful.

Since the poisoning murder of former Russian intelligence officer, Alexander Litvinenko, all sorts of allegations have emerged.

Litvinenko has been accused of planning to blackmail senior Russian figures and plotting to smuggle nuclear materials to chechen terrorists.

Several possible murderers have been suggested, ranging from the Russian Mafia, disgruntled business colleagues, "rogue" elements in Russian Intelligence and Chechen refugees.

Me, I stick to the simple theory.

That is, Litvinenko was highly embarrassing to the Russian government and Putin, so they had him killed.

In his 2002 book "Blowing Up Russia" Litvinenko accused Russian Intelligence of bombing Moscow apartments, killing 300 people, and blaming Chechen rebels, in order to justify the second Russian invasion of Chechniya.

Litvnenko has also accused Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, of being a Soviet agent.

Perhaps most seriously of all though, from Russia's point of view were Litvinenko's accusations of Russian backing for Al Qaeda and terrorism in general.

US commentator Jeff Nyquist has taken a close interest in Litvinenko's claims.

According to a 2005 column by JR Nyquist;

Last month a journalist friend in Poland sent me a translation of an interview with FSB [KGB] defector Alexander Litvinenko. The following testimony, offered by Litvinenko, was published by FAKT.

Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko (b. Voreonezh, 1962) served in the counterintelligence agencies of the Soviet KGB, and after 1991, as a counter-terrorism expert in the Central Staff of the MB-FSK-FSB (KGB successor organizations).

In 1997 Litvinenko served in one of the most secretive departments of the Russian KGB -- the Department for the Analysis of Criminal Organizations. He was a senior operations officer and deputy head of the Seventh Section. Litvinenko defected from Russia and was granted political asylum by the United Kingdom in May 2001.

In a July 2002 article titled Ayman al-Zawahiri's Russian Adventure, I offered the following analysis: "Given Zawahiri's travels to Russia and China, given the full context of Russia's double game in Chechnya, we ought to entertain the possibility that China and Russia secretly supported the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11."

Poland's FAKT contacted Litvinenko after the London bombings last month and the following conversation was reported:

FAKT: Alexander, who, in your opinion, is the originator of this [London] terrorist attack?

A. Litvinenko: You know, I have spoken about it earlier and I shall say now, that I know only one organization that has made terrorism the main tool of solving political problems. It is the Russian special services. The KGB was engaged in terrorism for many years, and mass terrorism. At the special department of the KGB they trained terrorists from practically every country in the world. These courses lasted, as a rule, for a half-year. Specially trained and prepared agents of the KGB organized murders and explosions, including explosions of tankers, the hijacking of passenger airliners, strikes on diplomatic, state and commercial organizations worldwide.

FAKT: Could you name ... some of the terrorists prepared at the "special courses" of the KGB-FSB?

A. Litvinenko: The bloodiest terrorists in the world were or are agents of the KGB-FSB. These are well-known, like Carlos Ilyich Ramiros, nicknamed "the Jackal," the late Yassir Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Adjalan (he is condemned in Turkey), Wadi Haddad, the head of the service of external operations of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hauyi, the head of the communist party of Lebanon, Mr. Papaionnu from the Cyprus, Sean Garland from Ireland and many others. All of them were trained by the KGB, received money from there, weapons and explosives, counterfeit documents and a communication equipment for carrying out of acts of terrorism worldwide.

FAKT: Some may object that each of the listed figures, and the forces supporting them, were engaged in solving their own political problems.

A. Litvinenko: Certainly, all these figures and movements operated under their own slogans; however, none of them especially hid their "intimate" ... relationship with the Kremlin and Lubyanka. There is a simple question: whether the Russian special services would train and finance people and groups that were not supervised by Lubyanka and did not serve the interests of the Kremlin?

You understand perfectly, they would not. Each act of terrorism made by these people was carried out as an assignment and under the rigid control of the KGB of the USSR. And [the terrorism] ... is not casual after the disintegration of the USSR and [reform of the KGB]....

FAKT: Every terrorist you have named is from 'the old staff' of the KGB. Could you name someone from recent history?

A. Litvinenko: Certainly, here it is. The number two person in the terrorist organization al Qaeda, who they are crediting with the series of explosions in London, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is an old agent of the FSB. Being sentenced to death in Egypt for terrorism and hunted by Interpol, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in 1998, was in the territory of Dagestan, where for half a year he received special training at one of the educational bases of the FSB.

After this training he was transferred to Afghanistan, where he had never been before and where, following the recommendation of his Lubyanka chiefs, he at once ... penetrated the milieu of bin Laden and soon became his assistant in al Qaeda.

FAKT: Could you hint at least, where this data comes from?

A. Litvinenko: I can. During my service in one of the most secret departments of the FSB, top officials from the UFSB of Dagestan, who had directly worked with Ayman al-Zawahiri ... were called to Moscow and received high posts.

FAKT: What can you say concerning the acts of terrorism in London ? From what region and with what forces was this strike directed?

A. Litvinenko: In reply to this question I can definitely say that the center of global terrorism is not in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or the Chechen Republic. The terrorist infection is spread worldwide from Lubyanka Square and the Kremlin cabinet. And until the Russian special services are outlawed, dispersed and condemned, the terrorism will never stop: bombs will blow up and blood will be shed.

Terrorism has no expiration date.... I would like to repeat, that all the terrorists, whom I have named, were supported by the heads of the Soviet and Russian special services - Yuri Andropov, Vladimir Putin, Nikolay Patrushev and others. These people are the main terrorists.... And until we condemn them ... global terrorism will continue.

If you were a former leader of the KGB/FSB like Putin, would you be a little bit upset with Litvinenko?

If you were covertly orchestrating terror against the West, while at the same time professing friendship and grubbing for credits and technology, would you want Litvinenko stopped?

I may be completely wrong here, but the three most important factors in solving a mysterious crime are MOTIVE, MOTIVE and MOTIVE.


From Jim Harper at the libertarian Cato Institute

Being a libertarian means you’re often the entertainment at cocktail parties. ‘Let’s have Jim tell us why there should be no traffic lights! It’ll be a riot!’

Now comes word that seven cities and regions in Europe are doing away with traffic lights and signs - indeed with most traffic regulations.

“The many rules strip us of the most important thing: the ability to be considerate. We’re losing our capacity for socially responsible behavior,” says Dutch traffic guru Hans Monderman, one of the project’s co-founders. “The greater the number of prescriptions, the more people’s sense of personal responsibility dwindles.”

Psychologists have long revealed the senselessness of such exaggerated regulation. About 70 percent of traffic signs are ignored by drivers. What’s more, the glut of prohibitions is tantamount to treating the driver like a child and it also foments resentment. He may stop in front of the crosswalk, but that only makes him feel justified in preventing pedestrians from crossing the street on every other occasion. Every traffic light baits him with the promise of making it over the crossing while the light is still yellow.

Unsafe is safe

The result is that drivers find themselves enclosed by a corset of prescriptions, so that they develop a kind of tunnel vision: They’re constantly in search of their own advantage, and their good manners go out the window.

The new traffic model’s advocates believe the only way out of this vicious circle is to give drivers more liberty and encourage them to take responsibility for themselves.

I’m entirely in favor of a deregulated, human-oriented traffic system - though I am slightly concerned about it diminishing my entertainment value at cocktail parties.

New Zeal This principle holds true in all areas of life.

Our society suffers from a major shortage of responsibilty.

One cannot be forced to be responsible, one can only choose to be responsible.

Therefore in order to have more responsibility we must have more choice.

Free societies foster responsibilty by maximising choice.

Socialist societies attack choice and therefore guarantee a general decrease in responsibility levels.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"National Question" Part 12 Polynesian Panthers

While Nga Tamatoa was the radical group for young Maori in the '70s, the Polynesian Panthers was the outlet for young Pacific Island agitators.

Originally formed in Auckland in June 1971 as the Polynesian Panther Movement, the organisation was a fusion of young Pacific Island student radicals and their gang member cousins.

The PPM's outlook was vaguely Marxist; "Panther" founder member and current Director of Pacific Island Studies at Auckland University, Dr Melanie Anae, quoted this passage from Panther material, in a 2004 "Anew" article to highlight the group's outlook.

The revolution we openly rap about is one of total change. The revolution is one to liberate us from racism, oppression and capitalism. We see many of our problems of oppression and racism are tools of this society's outlook based on capitalism; hence for total change one must change society altogether.

Their Marxism, was like that of their US based Black Panther heroes, Maoist oriented, but the Panthers reached out to variety of radical allies.

The PPM (known the Polynesian Panther Party, after November 1972) allied with the Maori radicals of Nga Tamatoa and the Maoists of Roger Fowler's Peoples Union and the NZ Race Relation's Council, HART and the Communist Party.

They also mixed with the Trotskyists from the Socialist Action League and with members of the Pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party.

The Panthers worked closely with the Marxist controlled Citizen's Association for Racial Equality (particularly a young Maoist named Joris de Bres) and the Auckland Committee on Racial discrimination (ACORD).

A young lawyer named David Lange did a lot of free legal work for the party and a young student radical named Helen Clark was also very helpful.

In July 1973, PPP "Minister of Culture" Ama Rauhihi attended a Maoist aligned "People's Forum" in Singapore and was selected to tour China with several Maori members of the Communist Party of NZ.

In July/August 1974, PPP member Norman Tuiasau attended the 10th International Youth Festival in East Berlin. The conference was convened by the Soviet front, World Federation of Democratic Youth and the trip was organised by the Socialist Unity Party. One of Tuiasau's co-delegates was a young Marilyn Spargo (later Tucker),who went on to become General Secretary of the SUP.

Tuiasau heard US Communist Party leader, Angela Davis, speak in East Berlin and traveled on to Moscow where he saw Lenin's tomb.

The Panthers delegated a young Melanie Anae to make contact with the real Black Panthers, during a trip to Los Angeles to stay with relatives. In September 1974 an article on the PPP was published in "Black Panther" magazine in the USA.

In mid 1972, PPP leader Will 'Ilolahia toured Australia where he met Aboriginal Black Power groups. On his return he announced plans for "solidarity and co-operation" between the PPP, Aboriginal groups and black power supporters in Papua-New Guinea.

At their peak, the Panthers had a busy HQ in Ponsonby, Auckland, several branches across the city, a shortlived branch in Dunedin and supporters in other centres.

The PPP was very active for several years. They ran dances for youth, agitated for traffic lights at unsafe pedestrian crossings, ran food banks, organised prison visits and ran candidates for local high school boards.

More politically, in 1972, the PPP worked with Nga Tamatoa, the Stormtrooper and Headhunter gangs to form a "loose Polynesian Front"

In January 1974 the PPP participated in a meeting "amongst all Maori and polynesian progressive organisations to form a united front".

Understandably the PPP focussed on "exposing racism", particularly by the police. In 1974, the PPP, jointly with Nga Tamatoa, CARE, ACORD and the Peoples Union organised the Police Investigation Group, which mounted "P.I.G. patrols" to monitor police dealings with Polynesian youth.

The PPP's "military wing" also assisted in the Party's several campaigns against the so-called "rack renters" who allegedly preyed heavily on the Polynesian communities at the time.

The PPP was active until the late '70s and never officially disbanded. Several cadres were arrested at Bastion Point in 1978 and some even played a role in the voilent "Patu" squad during the 1981 Springbok Tour.

Strangely, the PPP's influence is now probably more noticeable in music than in politics.

Well known band "Herbs" had some Panther influence, while modern performers like Che Fu, "Nesian Mystik" and Scribe can all claim Panther parents.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Richard Gott; Chavez's Cheerleader

Richard Willoughby Gott, an Oxford educated ex-public schoolboy might seem an unlikely propagandist for a latin American revolutionary leader.

According to Wikipedia, Gott is "a former Latin America correspondent and features editor for the British newspaper The Guardian, he is currently an honorary research fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London.

He studied history at Oxford University and worked at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. In the 1960s he worked at the University of Chile, where he wrote Guerrilla Movements in Latin America, "the enduring bible" on that topic."

Then come the clues;

In January 1966, Gott was a candidate in the byelection in Kingston upon Hull North byelection for the 'Radical Alliance', running on a platform which stressed opposition to the Vietnam War.

In 1967 he was in Bolivia as a freelance journalist for the Guardian to witness the events surrounding the capture and murder of Ernesto Che Guevara, playing a role himself by being able to confirm to the world that the 4-5 hour-old body in question was actually Che's, having met him in Havana in 1963.

In the last few years Gott has focussed his extensive writing on the Cuban and more latterly the Venezuelan revolution.

He certainly has. Try this piece from Gott's old employer, The Guardian of May 30th 2005

Something amazing has been taking place in Latin America in recent years that deserves wider attention than the continent has been accustomed to attract. The chrysalis of the Venezuelan revolution led by Chávez, often attacked and derided as the incoherent vision of an authoritarian leader, has finally emerged as a resplendent butterfly whose image and example will radiate for decades to come.

The Chávez government, for its part, has forged ahead with various spectacular social projects, assisted by the huge jump in oil prices, from $10 to $50 a barrel over the past six years. Instead of gushing into the coffers of the already wealthy, the oil pipelines have been picked up and directed into the shanty towns, funding health, education and cheap food.

Chávez himself, a youthful former army colonel of 51, is now perceived in Latin America as the most unusual and original political figure to have emerged since Fidel Castro broke on to the scene nearly 50 years ago. With huge charm and charisma, he has an infinite capacity to relate to the poor and marginal population of the continent.

A largely self-educated intellectual, the ideology of his Bolivarian revolution is based on the writings and actions of a handful of exemplary figures from the 19th century, most notably Simón Bolívar, the man who liberated most of South America from Spanish rule. Chávez offers a cultural as well as a political alternative to the prevailing US-inspired model that dominates Latin America.

Richard Gott is the author of Cuba: A New History and his latest offering

Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, a revamp of an earlier work In the Shadow of the Liberator: Hugo Chávez and the Transformation of Venezuela

One Blog review of Gott's latest book had this to say;

From MojoBlog

In Gott’s sympathetic account, Chavez is a magnetic personality of the Clintonian type, “a genuinely original figure in Latin America,” a radical left-wing nationalist, to be sure, but a pragmatic improviser, and certainly no dogmatic socialist. Chavez’s program for Venezuela remains somewhat vague, even to the man himself, but his concern for the country’s poor and marginalized is, in Gott's view, sincere and his vocation is essentially democratic.

This is difficult to square with this statement by Johan Freitas

The belief that a pure revolution can only be born once all remnants of the previous society has been destroyed is a popular theory among followers of Pol Pot's illfated Cambodia and of Mao's Cultural Revolution. And, according to Chavez-watcher Richard Gott, several of the president's closest advisers were once associated with a Chinese-oriented split from the Venezuelan Communist Party, and Chavez himself has declared that "I have always been a maoist".

Certainly Gott is in a good position to know the true nature of his hero. At January's World Social Forum in Caracas, he got up close and personal.

It felt like another world, but not long after we were in a stadium full of excited Chavistas and forum delegates who had gathered to hear 'El Comandante' speak. Thousands of people danced and sang in a festival atmosphere that was unlike any political rally we'd ever attended.

Finally, surrounded by familiar faces like Walden Bello, Cindy Sheehan, Samir Amin and Richard Gott, Chavez spoke at length with numerous historical diversions and even singing. However, he spoke of something that we've been gathering a sense of both before and during the forum: that Latin America is not on the defensive against neoliberalism but rather is on the offensive in promoting and creating alternatives.

There is however another, near forgotten side to Richard Gott.

According to Accuracy in Media's reed Irvine writing in December 1994;

In the first act of what portends to be a major political scandal, London’s Fleet Street has been rocked by the revelation that a leading British journalist was recruited by the Soviet KGB to spy on his colleagues and politicians.

Richard Gott, longtime foreign reporter and features editor of The Guardian, resigned in the wake of the disclosure by The Spectator. Gott, 56, denied any wrongdoing but admitted that he took 600 pounds (about $935) for “travel expenses” so he could meet Soviet officials outside of England.

In a resignation letter published in The Guardian, a far-left newspaper, Gott wrote, “I have to admit that I took red gold, even if it was only in the form of expenses for myself and my partner. That, in the circumstances, was culpable stupidity, though at the time it seemed more like an enjoyable joke.”

Some "joke". Irvine continues;

But according to KGB sources cited by The Spectator, Gott’s activities went far beyond the bounds of an “enjoyable joke.” In an editorial accompanying Gott’s unveiling, The Spectator stated, “Mr. Gott’s commitment to supporting ‘liberation’ movements in the Third World, his attacks on Britain’s institutions and defense of communist governments, read very differently once his true allegiance is known.” The Spectator article was written by Alasdair Palmer, who collaborated with defected KGB officer Oleg Gorievsky on a forthcoming book on Soviet intelligence activities in Britain.

Gordievsky said that Gott received more than 10,000 pounds ($15,000) and that he “was loyal, friendly, supportive and cooperative to the KGB.”

By The Spectator’s account, Gott was so eager to work for the KGB in the late 1970s that he excited suspicion. Palmer wrote, “Some KGB officers thought he was a ‘dangle’ - KGB slang for an MI-6 plant. He was too good to be true. How could anyone be so eager to work for the KGB? It made no sense. But the majority view was that no one could fake Gott’s degree of sincerity or enthusiasm. So contacts started.”

Palmer reported that one of Gott’s first controllers was Igor Tritov, who would be expelled from Britain in 1983 for “activities incompatible with his diplomatic status,” a euphemism for spying. After 14 months of inactivity, the KGB renewed contact with Gott. The Spectator reported: “It was decided that Gott would need a ‘welcome back’ payment of 600 pounds, since money had changed hands at earlier meetings.”

In a front-page letter in The Guardian, Gott simultaneously announced his resignation and denied any wrongdoing. Saying that he enjoyed the “cloak-and-dagger atmosphere,” he perhaps and unwittingly admitted to the thin line that separates a leftist journalist from being an agent-of-influence: “I assumed, through my absolutely transparent presentation of myself as an incorrigible leftist, no harm could come from lunching with these folk. And, as I say, I enjoyed it.”

He admitted that The Spectator article “verged on the truth” in that “the Russians did pay my fare and my hotel to got to Vienna, Athens and Nicosia to meet their man.”

I wonder who pays Richard Gott's bills these days?